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THE SAGA OF GRIT AND COLD COURAGE 


TRIBUTE TO THE FIGHTERS OF 35 INFANTRY BRIGADE IN 
1965 WAR: FIRST HAND ACCOUNT 

Maj Gen Yashwant Deva, AVSM (Retd) 




DEDICATED TO 


The forgotten martyrs of 35 Infantry Brigade, who sacrificed their 
sarvasva (the entire) — existence, even remembrance 

At Lord’s Beckoning 




Slain, thou shall achieve heaven; victorious, thou shall enjoy the earth. 
Therefore rouse O son of Kunti, resolve to fight. 

Bhaagvad Gita, Shalok 37, Discourse II 



1 



C-4/4089 Vasant Kunj 
New Delhi-110070 
Ph.: 26125877 


FOREWORD 


I recall Gen Deva, the author of this book when he was attending the 
Staff College. Posting as a Brigade Major after the course was 
indicative of the fact that the officer had done very well at the course. 
It was more so for a Signals officer, as normally officers from combat 
arms and not combat support arms got posted to this most important 
staff appointment for a Major. Nowadays with a Deputy Commander 
in the ra nk of Colonel and the Brigade Major upgraded to Lt Col, this 
has changed. 

After reading this book, I feel that the author has more than justified his selection 
as Brigade Major. He was blooded in battle like an infantry soldier and showed valour. 
He shouldered much responsibility in the operation of his Brigade in all the confusion 
connected with 1 Corps offensive in the Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Tasks for 
his Brigade were changing at the drop of the hat and so was its grouping with formations. 
Yet the Brigade’s performance was creditable. 93 officers and soldiers of the Brigade got 
martyred in this war. It has been said that no plan of battle survives in its entirety after 
contact with the enemy. Hence Flexibility is one of the principles of war. In the 
operations described by the author, Confusion more than Flexibility was their hallmark. 
No wonder Lt Gen E A Vas known to be a thinking General who had commanded a 
Brigade in this Sector wrote, “There was 80 percent confusion on our side. Thank God! 
There was 160 percent confusion in Pak side.” We may not have achieved the full 
potential of our resources but at the end of the day, we kept our flag flying high. The 
author has given a detailed account of the operations of his Brigade. He has quoted 
extensively from the account given in Western Army Commander, Lt Gen Harbaksh 
Singh’s War Despatches. He has also quoted from books by Pakistan authors giving the 
Pakistan version, notably from The Men of Steel : War Despatches by Abrar Hussain. 
Besides, there are some relevant quotes from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. After Cease Fire, 
the author played creditable role at Flag Meetings with Pakistan representatives. All this 
is well recorded in this book. 



The 22 days Indo-Pak War was fought in three phases. The first phase was 
Operation Gibraltar in which several thousand infiltrators were sent by Pakistan to 
generate an uprising of the local people against the Indian Army. Pakistan hoped that this 
would enable it to grab Kashmir. The people of Kashmir did not respond and instead co- 
operated with Indian Forces to locate the infiltrators and guide the former. The Indian 


Army crossed the LoC capturing Haji Pir Pass on the main route of the infiltrators. 
General Musa Khan, the then Chief of Pakistan Army wrote in his book My Version that 
Operation Gibraltar failed because the people did not co-operate with the infiltrators. 
Thereafter, Pakistan Army launched Operation Grand Slam. It was a conventional 
offensive aimed at Akhnur and Jammu, to cut off our line of communication to the 
Kashmir Valley. Pakistan advanced deep into our territory to Jaurian, close to Akhnur. 
The situation was critical. We retaliated by crossing our Western International Border 
from Kashmir to Gujrat. Whereas troops for offensive were in situ in other sectors, troops 
required for offensive in Samba Sector were concentrated at short notice from all over the 
country. This contributed to confusion during operations in Samba Sector. 

Pakistan was surprised when India responded to their Grand Slam by crossing the 
International Border. India had been saying that in case Pakistan launched an offensive 
across LOC in Kashmir, she would respond by attacking at a place of its choice. It seems 
that Pakistan had assumed that after the passing away of Jawaharlal Nehru, his successor 
was weak who would not take such a decision. Moreover, with its superiority with 
modem weapons over India, Pakistan would be able to dictate terms in Jammu and 
Kashmir. 


Lai Bahadur Shastri proved to be a great leader in deciding on retaliatory action. 
Initially, Pakistan was taken completely by surprise. Our troops advanced from Amritsar 
to the outskirts of Lahore. Pakistan immediately withdrew its forces from Akhnur to meet 
this threat and unleashed heavy air attacks for which we were not fully prepared. This 
resulted in our having to withdraw from near Lahore to lchhogil Canal. Pakistan launched 
its major offensive through Taran Taran towards Beas. Field Marshal Ayub declared that 
he would soon have his tanks rolling down the plains of Panipat to Delhi. Pakistan 
annour was decimated in the sugar cane fields at Asal Uttar. The Pakistan major 
offensive fizzled out. Both India and Pakistan accepted Cease Fire at the instance of the 
two Super Powers. 

India and Pakistan both claim victory in this War, India for saving Jammu and 
Kashmir and defeating Pakistan offensive at Asal Uttar. She also captured more square 
miles of Pakistan territory. This was all cultivable territory. Pakistan on the other hand 
secured less Indian territory and that too mostly in the desert. Pakistan’s claim to victory 
rests on saving Lahore and not allowing our armour to break out of the extensive mines, 
it had laid in the Sialkot sector. There is no doubt that the scales of victory were tripped 
in favour of India. 

There is also a historical angle to Indo-Pak war that we have fought since 
Independence. Pakistan had misinterpreted history by imagining that they are 
descendents of Central Asian invaders who had come to India during the medieval period 
and conquered repeatedly. They also felt that they had martial superiority over Indians. 
No wonder at the time of partition their slogan was “Hans Ke liya hal Pakistan, Lad ke 
lenge Hidustan ’’ All this received a jolt in the first Indo-Pak war of 1947-48, a setback in 



Ill 


the Second Indo-Pak war of 1965 and got totally shattered in India’s decisive victory in 


I have tried to give the overall political and strategic background of the lndo-Pak 
war of 1965 to highlight its importance. This book gives details of battles fought at 
Brigade and. Battalion level. It is useful for study by young Army officers. I commend 
the author for his hard work and devotion to the memory of the martyrs of his Brigade in 
that war. 


1971 



New Delhi 
6 August, 2015 


Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha 
Former Governor of Assam and of J&K 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 


I express gratitude to Lt Gen SK Sinha, PVSM (Retd) who has been my guide, mentor, 
and guru in the formative years of my career at Defence Services Staff College and later 
when I served under him as Military Attache in Afghanistan, for writing the foreword to 
this monograph. I thank Lt Gen PK Singh, PVSM, AVSM (Retd) Director USI for his 
appreciation of this work, help and consideration in its publication during Golden Jubilee 
year. Penning this venerable Gatha (Saga) has been an honour, which I owe to Veer Gati 
Prapt comrades in arms, who laid down their lives half a century back — little knowing 
that even their names would be forgotten by history, what to talk of their daring and 
devotion to duty — call to Naam, Namak aur Nishan. Seeking to redress that historical, 
yet reprehensible wrong and instead initiate grateful remembrance of their sacrifices, as I 
do, I decline, with all deference, any honorarium or royalty, and instead express 
motivation to reach out through this work, to the survivors and the kith and kin of the 
martyrs, and budding generations of the Armed Forces while India commemorates the 
almost forgotten war. 

I am grateful to Lt Gen Satish Nambiar, PVSM, AVSM, VrC (Retd) for his help in 
perusing relevant books and for sharing his views on this important subject. I 
acknowledge obligation of Lt Gen Ravi Eipe PVSM, AVSM (Retd), former Army 
Commander for his indulgence in refreshing my memory and accessing material, Lt Gen 
RP Singh, PVSM (Retd) and Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh, PVSM (Retd), both former SO-in- 
Cs, for identifying personalities in photographs and their progressive observations, 
likewise grateful to Maj Gen PJS Sandhu (Retd) for identifying Pakistan’s “A” vehicles 
in photographs and as an editor of USI publications, giving an unsullied and realistic 
view to historical account of battles we fought. It would be remiss of me if I do not refer 
to his contribution to meticulously revising and tidying up this work. I record my fond 
appreciation for Signalman Tomar and Signalman Manish Singh of 21 Signal Group, the 
former for making excellent set of sketches and the latter for his help in making 
photographs printable and colour-modification of Pakistani maps in The Men of Steel that 
show their dispositions. I thank Brig Chandra Shekhar (Retd) erstwhile incharge War 
Memorial at Bangalore for sending me the venerated roll of honour of martyrs. 

I thank Infantry School for according me the honor of addressing the YO’s course 
on morale and motivation in the context of my experiences in Operation Nepal, likewise 
College of Combat for Junior Command and Senior Command courses, Military College 
of Telecommunication Engineering for teaching Infantry and Signal tactics to various 
courses, and field formations that were later deployed in the vicinity of the battlefield on 
the factual history of 1965 War in Sialkot Sector. Finally, I express my gratitude to Brig 
TK Aich erstwhile Commander 35 Infantry Brigade for conferring a singular appreciation 
for recounting the history and presentation of photographs of 1965 War at the Golden 
Jubilee Celebrations of Brigade Raising day on 15 August 1963. 



V 


CONTENTS 

1 . Preamble 1 

2. Chapter 1: Induction Into the Battlefield 4 

3. Chapter 2: Advance Into Pakistan and Capture of Chobara 9 

4. Chapter 3: Firm Base at Sabzpir-Cross Roads 13 

5. Chapter 4: Move to Manga: Regrouping, Command and Control Fiascos 20 

6. Chapter 5: Battle of Chawinda 24 

7. Chapter 6: Withdrawal From Jassoran and Battle of Alhar 34 

8. Chapter 7: Flag Meetings 39 

9. Chapter 8: Analysis and Lessons Leamt 45 

10. Appendix “A”: Martyrs of Infantry Battalions of 35 Infantry Brigade 56 

11. Appendix “B”: 35 Infantry Brigade Operations in Sialkot Sector 

8-23 September 1965 59 

12. Appendix “C’: Pak Dispositions on 14 September 1965 60 

13. Appendix “D” Opposing Forces at Chawinda on 18/19 September 1965: 61 

14. Appendix “E”: Attack on Chawinda on Night 18/19 September 62 

15. .Appendix “F”: Pakistani Armour, Artillery and Mechanised Infantry Facing 6 

MARATHA LI at Chawinda and 20 RAJPUT at Jassoran on 19 
September 1965 63 

16. Appendix “G” :35 Infantry Brigade Defended Sector: 20-23 September 1965 64 

17. Appendix “H” : Pakistani Formation Signs captured from officers Mess at 

Gadgor/Phillora 65 


18. Notes 


66 



1 


PREAMBLE 

You cannot prevent and prepare for war at the same time. 

— Albert Einstein 

This is the legendary account of 35 Infantry Brigade, fractured in entity, run down in 
history, yet momentous frontrunner in 1965 War. The dateline is packed with heroism of 
the martyrs as listed in Appendix “A”, and unparallel deeds of daring, both by the living 
and the departed — alas! It is undocumented, even unrecognised by the so-called official 
history and other books including War Despatches by Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, VrC and 
Missed Opportunities by Maj Gen Lachhman Singh PVSM, VrC. 

There is another glitch qualifying as exceptionality and that is about command 
and control. Nowhere in history, had a brigade changed affiliation to different types of 
divisions, vis. Infantry, Mountain and Armoured; and that too, four to six times during a 
span of 18 days without conveyance of timely and proper written orders of doing so, 
more often without our knowledge — at odds with, even defiance of traditional nonns, 
staff duties teaching standards, and training practices; instead creating confusion with 
regard to passing orders and delivery of situational awareness. It entailed denial of 
intelligence, and unfair treatment, both, in narrative and recognition of exceptional 
valour. Greater irony was that much touted all arms’ warfare precepts e.g. dedicated 
firepower, chain of command communications from higher HQ to lower HQ, 
organisational cohesiveness, morale and bonhomie were a fatality. Throughout the 
operations left hand did not know what right hand was doing. Yet, at no stage in battle, 
35 Infantry Brigade lost its verve, balance, zeal and, above all, mettle in the face of the 
enemy. 

The brigade was a new raising that celebrated its Golden Jubilee existence, on 15 
August 2013. During Operation Ablaze against Pakistan, it relieved a brigade of 6 
Mountain Division and was deployed in Operation Hornet in mountains against China. 
On termination of Operations Ablaze, it was ordered to shed all the three battalions in situ 
and move back to its peace station, Saugar. For a good three weeks or so the Brigade 
Headquarters and the Signal Company cooled their heels at Bareilly, awaiting the rolling- 
stock. What a travesty! The railways got a pat and the hierarchy of Army and the Air 
Force flak from the Official History. 

Not even a fortnight had elapsed at Saugar, when the Brigade headed for yet 
another operational assignment, that too, with all three new battalions — two at Saugar 
and one at Babina. The Brigade having undergone no training — individual or collective, 
no familiarisation with the terrain because of a shift from mountains to plains, no time to 
settle and resettle the families or recall personnel from leave, temporary duty, or courses 
of instruction, no clues about the enemy — strength, organisation, deployment, or tactics; 
no experience to operate alongside Armour, Artillery, Engineers and Signals, no logistic 
support, and above all having had no professional or social interaction with would-be 
battle comrades — was all green as green could be. 



2 


Here is the narrative by erstwhile Brigade Major who had the rarest of rare 
opportunity of beholding, witnessing and partnering the brave deeds of officers and men 
of the Brigade; who was the first infonnation recipient of actions that should have shaped 
the military’s authentic history; who wrote situation reports, prisoners’ interrogation 
reports and the war diary with maps, sketches, photographs, and extensive coverage of 
battles, which none read or quoted; who carried the onerous responsibility of representing 
I Corps at flag meetings after the ceasefire and taking on-the-spot, often out-of-box, 
decisions when the enemy violated the line of control (LoC) and who is by now the only 
survivor amongst the brigade hierarchy to tell the poignant, edifying account of factual 
happenings. This write-up is supported by some pertinent photographs from author’s 
album; Pakistani troops disposition maps copied from The Men of Steel — a book on War 
Despatches authored by Abrar Hussain General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Armoured 
Division of Pakistan, and illustrative sketches that belie the subjectivity and factual 
contradictions of the official narrative as to where the 35 Infantry Brigade was, under 
which division — more so, adverse relative strength and deployment of the enemy it 
faced in the bloodiest battle of Chawinda. 

Before describing my narrative, it would be relevant to give a broad overview of 
Indian 1 Corps operations in order to familiarise the reader as to where 35 Infantry 
Brigade fitted into the overall strategic setting. The mission assigned to I Corps was to 
secure Pagowal, Phillora, Chawinda and Cross Roads with a view to advancing towards 
the Marala-Ravi Link Canal and eventually to the line of Dhallewali, Wuhilam, Daskasb, 
Mandhali. The operation was given codeword ‘NEPAL’. 

There were three vital considerations in the formulation of I Corps Plan vis, 
firstly, security of the Road Pathankot - Jammu particularly Madhopur Bridge; secondly, 
achievement of surprise during concentration and break out; and thirdly, inadvisability of 
fixing intermediate objectives in view of the limited infonnation available regarding 
enemy dispositions and activities. 

Indian 1 Corps constituted 1 Armoured Division (I Armoured and 43 Lorried 
Brigades); 6 Mountain Division (69 and 99 Mountain Brigades); 14 Infantry Division 
(35, 58 and 116 Infantry Brigades), and 26 Infantry Division (19, 162 and 168 Infantry 
Brigades) later beefed up by 52 Mountain Brigade. On induction 35 Infantry Brigade was 
part of 14 Infantry Division only for defence of Madhopur Bridge Thereafter it was 
placed under command 6 Mountain Division along with 166 Field Regiment and three 
tentacles. 

The broad plan of I Corps was as under: - 

(a) Establishment of “Bridgehead” across the International Border at Charwa and 
Maharajke by 99 and 69 Mountain Brigades with 35 Infantry Brigade as 
reserve. 

(b) Breakout by Armoured Division for capture of Phillora and advance to 
Pagowal on two axes:- 



3 


(i) Red Route on Left. I Armoured Brigade Group designated for 
capturing Phillora 

(ii) Green Route on Right. 43 Lorried Brigade Group designated for 
advancing to Pagowal. 

Though not spelt out in any book or official history the infantry advance into 
Pakistan was led by 35 Infantry Brigade, following the Red Route. We were under 
command 6 Mountain Division and paradoxically, were planned to “explore” right up to 
Pagowal — the same objective as that of 43 Lorried Brigade. 

Written in the context of the above background, and in first person idiom, this 
monograph is a potent motivator with a view to retrieving pride of belonging to a brigade 
whose performance in battle against enemy superior in numbers, entrenched in pillboxes, 
extensively mined and supported by armour, artillery guns and weapons of better-quality 
and potency was indeed exceptional and worthy of esteem and honour. 

I quote an Urdu couplet that I once read in M J Amber’s column that fits apt with 
our history writers, who have never seen a drop of blood being shed: 

Waqt ne dekhe hain bahut, tairaqi mein mahir; 

Jo doob gave, darya mein koodne se pahle. 

The “Times” have seen many expert swimmers 

Who drowned, before they jumped into the river. 



4 


Chapter 1 

INDUCTION INTO THE BATTLEFIELD 

“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, 
a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry 
which can on no account be neglected. 

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War 


Move from Peace Location 

The first train carrying Brigade HQ, the Signal Company and 5 Jammu and Kashmir 
Rifles (JAK RIF) pulled in at the Pathankot Railway Station an hour after the first light 
on 6 September. 1965. 1 We were met by an officer from the Area HQ, who confirmed the 
radio news of previous night that war had been declared. He also told us that civil 
transport had been arranged for the battalion to take it to the concentration area close to 
the Madhopur Bridge and that I was required to meet the General Officer Commanding 
(GOC) 14 Infantry Division Maj Gen RK Ranjeet Singh at the Madhopur Bridge at 1400 
hours. 


The Brigade Commander, Brig AC Cariappa had left Saugur seven days earlier to 
participate in briefings on planning of Operation Nepal. He gave me a quarter inch map 
to study the Sialkot-Shakargarh terrain, but not to reveal the location where we were 
headed to any one. It was only when the war was declared and we heard the 
announcement on BBC, that I shared with Lt Col Sukhdev Singh Commanding Officer 
(CO) of 5 JAK RIF every bit of information that was told to me. It helped. The Subedar 
Major passed instructions to jawans to shed every non-essential item at the concentration 
area and carry only weapons, ammunition, small pack and big pack. He also gave me a 
wise counsel, “Sahib Ji! Pathankot mein do char bori channa aur gur lekar gadiyon 
mein rakh lena, Larai men koi pata nahin ‘B ’ Echelon main bana khana kaisa ho aur voh 
pahunche ya na pahunche (Sir! buy a few bags of gram and jiggery and keep them in the 
vehicles with you. You never know whether the meal cooked in ‘B’ Echelon would come 
and in what state),” How right he was. We survived on chana and Gur. I wish I could 
have interacted with the Signal Company and other battalion commanders too. The 
pressure of uncertainty of events, the severity of battlefield, chaos and perplexity coupled 
with lack of training, and babuism even in an emergency, took over. 

At the concentration area, the first chaos that I faced was when told that Signal 
Company was still at the railway platfonn trying to refit wireless equipment in command 
vehicles. This ruckus was a creation of the railway babu at Saugar who insisted that he 
would not issue the “Overhead Clearance” certificate and allow the train to move unless 
all equipment was removed from the vehicles and separately loaded. This was height of 
hostility, if not downright subversion. No Major was posted — the Company was being 
commanded by a short service commissioned officer of one and half year service, who 
complied. I was not informed and the end-result was that we went into battle without 



5 


checking communications, charging batteries and grouping radio detachments with 
battalions. . 

I met the GOC at Madhopur Bridge as scheduled. Without preliminaries, he 
pronounced, “In the absence of your Brigade Commander, ORDERS. The brigade will 
defend Madhopur Bridge tonight. A battalion is here with you and the second one has just 
arrived at the railway station. You will deploy one battalion on the heights that you see to 
the North of bridge and the other battalion to the South.” I ventured to ask him who the 
likely enemy was and in what strength? The GOC was candid, “There is Intelligence 
Bureau (IB) report that “one la kh Razakars” have gathered on the other side of the 
border, some had infiltrated and tried to target the bridges in J&K and some may 
possibly head for Madhopur Bridge too. Although the number appears to be all bunkum, 
we cannot take chances. However, there is a possibility of attack by enemy Para- 
commandoes to be followed by a major offensive. The likely targets of Pakistan Para- 
commandoes could be the Pathankot air base and Madhopur Bridge.” He proved right, 
although no Pak offensive came; an attempt was made by Para-commandoes 

After the GOC left, I was still at the Bridge, looking at the features, the vulnerable 
parts of the bridge and planning for the protection of the bridge, when the brigade 
commander’s jeep appeared. As the Brigade Commander alighted, his first question to 
me was, “What are you doing here? You should be in the assembly area with the 
battalions to be reserve for an attack at Charwa and Maharajke by 6 Mountain Division. I 
explained to him that the orders issued by the GOC 14 Infantry Division were to defend 
Madhopur Bridge, and posed a counter question, “Has the Corps Headquarters (HQ) 
issued any orders as to when and where we were to be detached from 14 Infantry 
Division and attached to 6 Mountain Division — in staff duties they call it, “atts and 
dets” 2 He appreciated the predicament that we had landed in. 

So the two of us made a beeline for the Upper Bari Doab Canal Rest House, rang 
up from a civil number, got military exchange at Pathankot, thence to Corps exchange 
and the Brigadier General Staff (BGS). After the Commander briefed him, BGS response 
was, “Tonight you defend Madhopur Bridge, tomorrow move to assembly area and be 
reserve for attack, and day-after, lead the infantry advance into Pakistan.” That implied 
three types of operations without perception of the ground, strength and whereabouts of 
the enemy, and still worse, not knowing own troops along-side whom we were required 
to operate — not even aware or known the “GOC and staff’ under whom the Brigade 
would be placed. We did not discern that this would be our fate right till the ceasefire. 

Defence of Madhopur Bridge 

Madhopur Bridge lies on the Pathankot- Jammu national highway, NH-1A - the only road 
li nk that Jammu and Kashmir had at that time with the rest of the country. The bridge is 
about 9.5 km from the Pathankot Railway Station and near the airport. Due to its vital and 
critical location, Madhopur Bridge is a strategic focal point and its sabotage or take-over 
even for a couple of hours could be disastrous for build up of troops for an offensive by 
the newly raised corps, besides disruption of regular convoys of troops and logistic 


6 


support for 1 5 Corps. So we took the situation seriously. Leaving the brigade commander 
at the Canal Rest House, I headed back for the Bridge. 

As I came to the police check-post, there was an urgent message for me to contact 
HQ Sub Area. I was put through to the Staff Officer. He told me that the enemy air force 
had launched an attack on Pathankot airbase and some aircraft had been destroyed. I was 
told to be vigilant and ensure safety of the bridge. 

At the bridge, the two battalion commanders, Lt Col Sukhdev Singh, CO 5 JAK 
RIF and Lt Col Saranjit Singh Kanwar, CO 20 RAJPUT were waiting for me. I conveyed 
the orders. Together, we planned the defence of the Bridge, essentially against Para-drop 
and subversion. We put a section each at the northern and southern end barriers, 
relieving the police, who were too glad to oblige. I and two dispatch riders located 
ourselves at the police check-post and virtually became the brigade HQ under the Area. I 
visited the battalions after stand to. They were well deployed — each had sent out a 
protective patrol. 

Pakistan’s Terror Assets 



This is what the official history has to say about the Para-drop, “In Pathankot area, the 
paratroopers were dropped at about 
0230 hrs on 7 September, which meant 
that they had a margin of about three 
hours before daylight to complete their 
task. However, by mistake they landed 
on a marshy piece of ground, leading 
to great confusion. By the time the 
various ‘Sticks” were collected, it was 
too late to fulfil their mission. The first 
warning about this drop was conveyed 
to Pathankot Sub-Area HQ by a 
villager. Hurriedly, approximately 200 
men were collected from transients in 
the early hours of the morning. By 
about 1000 hrs, the intruders were 
completely surrounded and they began 
to give themselves up in groups. The 
last group, which included their 
commander surrendered in the 
afternoon.” 3 Amongst the transients were 6 MARATHA Light Infantry (6 MARATHA 
LI) officers and jawans. I have a formation sign of Ekwanja FF (Fifty One Para Battalion 
of Frontier Force) captured by them. 


In context of the so-called Razakars or Mujahideen, Pakistan is notorious in 
spreading canards with regard to their strength, readiness to volunteer and motivation. 
History is replete with examples of hordes of barbarians descending on India down the 


7 


ages. There are plenty in Pakistani political establishment, Anny and Inter Services 
Intelligence (ISI), who extol savagery — their pretended superficial suavity 
notwithstanding. The Special Services Group (SSG), a Division sized group, is headed by 
a Major-General and divided into ten battalions. Of them, the acknowledged ones, 
comprising SSG Commando Force 4 , deployed in Kashmir were: 

(a) “Salahuddin Force” operating in SrinagarValley 

(b) “Ghaznavi Force “ in Mendhar-Rajauri area 

(c) “Tariq Force” in Dras-Kargil area 

(d) “Babar Force “in Nowshera-Sundarbani area 

(e) “Qasim Force” in Bandipura-Sonarwain area 

(f) “Khalid Force” in Qazinag-Naugam area 

(g) “Nusrat Force” in Tithwal-Tangdhar area 

(h) “Sikandar Force” in Gurais area 

(i) “Khilji Force” in Kel-Minimarg area. 

Besides those deployed in Kashmir, a sizable numbers were located at border posts 
and even in the interior. There were 12 Mujahid Companies and rangers all along the 
border subdivided into small posts for observation and local defence. In addition to those 
deployed in border posts, there were a total of 24 Rangers/Mujahid Companies in Pak 15 
Division area operating against us. Although the Official History has recorded Mujahid 
prisoners captured at Charwa, it has ignored those captured by 5 JAK RIF at Chobara. 

S G Mehdi of Pakistan Army who commanded SSG till just before the 
commencement of 1965 operations is highly critical of Pakistan Army leadership He 
states, “Broadly the plan envisaged, on a short-term basis, sabotage of military targets, 
disruptions of communications, etc. and, as a long-term measure, distribution of anns to 
the people and initiation of a guerrilla movement there with a view to starting an uprising 
in the valley eventually.” 5 

Pakistan has used raiders and terrorists throughout its existence right up to 
26/11. They failed to raise a revolt, but succeeded in creating a great deal of confusion 
and mayhem by acts of sabotage, violence and murder. Even today, the fonnal or 
informal terrorist forces might have been disbanded, neither their ulterior mission has 
been discarded, nor the vicious mindset changed. What was relevant to Pak strategy in 
1947 is still pertinent. Razakars, Mujahideen and terrorists continue to be active on Pak 
Order of Battle (ORB AT) ever since, and will be a strong feature of Pak capability and 
their proclivity to subvert India’s sovereignty, in future too. Only change one discerns is 
in their modus operandi, which is overly getting biased to cyber terrorism and digital- 
jihad. We have to be consistently beware of them — hunt down the track they follow, and 
trail the footprints they leave. 


A word about the Pakistan Rangers — the one that operated against us in 1965. 
Unlike our Border Security Force (BSF), it was a force designed and tasked to function 
under the Army. The Rangers had fought together with the Pakistan Army in several 



8 


conflicts, right up to Kargil War in 1992. The top command hierarchy of the force was 
seconded from the Pak Army. An officer of Major ra nk from the Ranger Force was part 
of Flag Meetings that I attended on behalf of 1 Corps — more about it in Chapter 7. 

Move to Arnia on 7 September 1965 

At first light on 7 September 1965 the civil transport reported for taking our battalions to 
Amia — what was being termed as divisional Concentration Area, but for us it was an 
Assembly Area. As we left Madhopur, we came under command 6 Mountain Division — 
so I supposed. While I headed for the Division HQ, the first-line vehicles of the Brigade 
HQ, the Signal Company and the two battalions were directed to the Dispersal Area. The 
men marched from the check post on the Jammu-Pathankot Highway, carting their big 
packs. 


At the Division HQ, I was received by a duty officer. He gave me 17 one inch 
maps for the entire brigade. To my query as to what is the distribution; his response was, 
“five for each battalion and two for brigade HQ.” With seventeen one inch maps for the 
entire brigade, imagine the state of interaction at the level below company — the platoon 
commanders, dispatch riders, line parties, liaison officers, khana garis were clueless 
about their own position, let alone how and where to reach the next destination or the 
objective, illusive as they were. It was soon after we learnt that whereas the Annoured 
Division was given the latest metric naps, we the have-nots in the elite order were dished 
the outdated ones. This kind of denial was the effect of shortages imposed by bureaucrats 
in the Government, who did not learn from the 1962 debacle. I am told the same state 
prevails today in changing to digital maps. 

When I asked for a copy of the Operation Order, I was told that there was none 
for my brigade and that the Brigade Commander had been briefed about what is required 
to be done. At that time, I was not aware of the fiasco of the loss of Annoured Division 
Operation Order and the enemy being unintentionally fooled that the loss was an 
intentional ploy. 6 The Brigade was information-deprived, clueless about plans, unfamiliar 
with terrain, and excluded from sharing information i.e., .no written orders to peruse, no 
signal instructions to know nicknames and code-words in radio conversations, and worse 
no netting of communications. We paid heavily, that too with lives, for lack of 
intelligence be it perceived on ground, or be it reflected in psyche. 

We were only two battalion strength and remained ignorant for days ahead as to 
how long we would be deprived of 6 MARATHA LI — the third battalion; and worse, 
known its whereabouts. Nonetheless we were reserve for attack on Charwa or Maharajke 
and could not behave or conduct ourselves as “wanting” should the situation so demand. 
So we kept ready for either eventuality. The night 7/8 September was spent in mentally 
preparing ourselves for the fog-of-war, and motivating the jawans for the ensuing battle. . 



9 


Chapter 2 

ADVANCE INTO PAKISTAN AND CAPTURE OF CHOBARA 


In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained 
personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military. 

— General Macarthur 

Advance on Axis Charwa - Chobara - Chawinda 

For locations and battles fought by the battalions of 35 Infantry Brigade see Appendix 


6 MARATHA LI on arrival at Pathankot was detached from the Brigade and 
deployed for the defence of Madhopur Bridge, when we moved forward. It rejoined the 
Brigade two days before the battle of Chawinda on night 18/19 September. Yet in all 
reckoning in war and its history, we were a brigade with three battalions, notwithstanding 
that one third of the force was separated from us. The quirk of fate is that I met the 
battalion commander Lt Col AM Manohar just for 15 minutes on the 17 th evening for the 
first and last time, when I handed over the Brigade Operation Order in signal format to 
him. 


35 Infantry Brigade less one battalion started from Arnia at 0500 hours, crossed 
International Border at 0700 hours just behind 1 Armoured Brigade, and were headed for 
Chawinda on a momentous mission, which history fails to acknowledge. We moved in 
the classic advance formation with 5 JAK RIF on left of the road, 20 RAJPUT on the 
right and the vehicle column led by me on the road. 

As we crossed Charwa and were at its outskirts, I heard the sound of enemy 
aircraft. They dipped, presumably at the sight of tanks of the Annoured Brigade ahead 
but pulled up to reform. That gave me enough time to react. I was driving the jeep and 
had positioned two DRs behind the jeep. I shouted, “ Dushman ke jahaz; (enemy aircraft), 
titter bitter ho jao (disperse) gariyan chhor do (get down from vehicles). The DRs turned 
back and relayed the orders to “look out” men with tremendous speed. Meanwhile I 
sharply turned to a side-lane; a few vehicles followed my jeep and merged with mud- 
houses. The enemy four sorties one after another dipped and sprayed bullets. Only two 
vehicles were damaged of the entire column, but they too were runners. This was an 
upshot of my briefing before we started. 

I was reminded of strenuous and meticulous training under my mentor Maj Gen S 
N Antia, PVSM who was Chief Instructor at IMA when I was a cadet and later my first 
Commanding Officer. He conducted extensive exercises every month that too more often 
at night. The only difference was that the DRs used to be young officers (YOs), I 
amongst them; and the seat next to the driver was not for an officer or JCO but for the 



10 


look-out man to stand through the cupola. This ensured vehicles maintained correct 
distance between them and passage of orders of the commander, convoy discipline, and 
conveyance of air strike warnings while on the move. 

As I reached the Cross Roads, I found my Brigade Commander and commanding 
officers of annour regiments standing together and conversing; where I learnt that 
extensive damage had been done by the enemy air raids to the A2 and B echelon vehicles 
of armoured regiments and some smash-up to ours too,. It was for this reason that further 
advance could not continue. The following orders were communicated to me: 

(a) 5 JAK RIF to capture Chobara. 

(b) 20 RAJPUT to deploy in general area two miles from the Cross Road on road 
to Maharajke. 

(c) HQ 35 Infantry Brigade to locate in Area Sabzpir (In Urdu, Sabz Peer means 
Green Saint) - Cross Roads. 

From that time onwards the Brigade was virtually placed under command 1 
Armoured Division, although we were neither in communication with any Division HQ, 
nor known to them as to where we were, and what we were doing. The official history 
narrators write, “The 35 Infantry Brigade which joined the 6 Mountain Division on 7 
September, was asked to explore further towards Pagowal in Phase II of the operation.” 7 
This was news to me when I read it. Further, this is vague, as vague and confusing could 
be in military parlance in assignment of a mission, that too to an infantry brigade to out 
step annour formation that it follows. Another disconcert was that according to the Corps 

HQ, we were still at Arnia in India, cooling our heels and only moved across the 

8 

International Boundary on 9 September. 

After citing the Brigade HQ, I went to see the Commander. As I approached him, 
we heard the sound of Pak Patton tanks, later recognised as those of 25 Cavalry — 
integral to Pak 24 Brigade. These were promptly intercepted by our Centurions. 
Commander and I climbed the outer parapet wall of the mosque to watch the ta nk battle; 
more so to show our calmness and composure to the men. Occasional shell came our 
way, making us duck. It was an extremely scenic show no doubt, but it would be justly 
wrong to be frivolous or perky about it. Our tanks got the better of the enemy, chasing 
them away within half an hour or so. But our side faltered in assessing the quantum of 
annour opposition, and unwisely overestimated it. 9 

Capture of Chobara 

According to, Khalid Mohammad Arif., enemy’s B company 13 FF Reconnaissance and 
Support Battalion was holding Charwa backed up by elements of 3 FF, both under 24 
Brigade of 15 Division. 10 The Brigade was deployed in area Chobara but was pulled out 
on night 7/8 September to Jassar, leaving behind 3 FF. 11 



11 


Earlier our 1 Armoured Brigade had gone past Chobara but Pakistan’s 3 FF with 
bulk of the battalion were still holding it. 5 JAK RIF secured Chobara after a brief 
encounter, but kept mopping up till daylight. The enemy did not put up much of a fight 
and withdrew. That day 5 JAK RIF suffered 4 killed and about twelve or so wounded in 
action, bulk of them due to enemy shelling and air strikes. The battalion captured nine 
Pakistani soldiers, Rangers, policemen or Mujahideen — one in uniform and eight in 
civilian clothes with distinct soldierly demeanor, widely different from that of the 
villagers. They were produced before me in the morning. I segregated the man in uniform 
and interrogated him strictly according to the Geneva Convention. He disclosed that he 
was from 3 FF. 

Fate in the evening the commander came to the command post to pass orders to 
the CO 5 JAK RIF. The lines to the battalions were being laid and were not yet through. 
Command net was functional. I got the CO on the wireless net. The Brigade commander 
asked him to keep a company ready to go with a squadron of armour to Gadgor. The CO 
reacted edgy and started conveying his apprehensions. I pressed the switch .to cut off the 
conversation. To commander’s query as to why I did that, my reply was, “The enemy is 
listening.” 

“Then what do I do?” he asked. My response was, “I will go and convey your 
orders, but as Staff College teaches, I do feel that a company should not be detached from 
its battalion and a brigade from its parent division. Besides, there would be no radio 
communication between the squadron and the company.” Having expressed my views, 
I took the jeep and drove in dark without lights. As I came close to Chobara, a couple of 
rounds of fire came from the built-up area on the right of the road. This was repeated 
during my return trip too. It showed that the enemy had left stay-behind parties — either 
Mujahideen or soldiers in civilian clothes. They were a serious cause of concern. 

Some distance ahead, a one ton vehicle was standing. It was of Signals laying lines. 
A Sikh NCO was in charge. When I enquired, “Sab theek hai? (Whether all is well?).” 
He told me that the line was frequently being cut by an enemy — “Tusi fiqar na karo Sir, 
main ida bandobast karoon (Do not be concerned Sir I will sort out the scoundrel)” He 
lived up to his pride and promise. Next morning, a prisoner was brought before me. The 
line party had laid an ambush and nabbed him while sabotaging cable route. I questioned 
him. He told me that he worked for Pakistan’s Telegraph Department and maintained the 
Permanent Fine (PF) route. On my persistent questioning, he disclosed that the sepoys 
who gave him money to cut the lines were linemen like him — and to my question, “ keri 
paltan ? (which Battalion?)”, he revealed “ pandra aur chobees (fifteen and twenty four). 
Presence of Pak 15 Division, 24 Brigade and 3 FF were known to us on 9 September 
itself and passed on to HQ I Armoured Division 

A Signalman of the line party guided me to Battalion HQ of 5 JAK RIF. I met the 
CO, re-conveyed the orders and my reservations. Yet I was firm saying “orders are 
orders.” Before I left, I could feel the disappointment in his demeanour. When I returned 
to the Brigade HQ, the Commander told me that the mission was off. The telephone 



12 


communications were established at 1 1 PM. And I rang up Col Sukhdev Singh to give the 
news. He was much relieved and profusely thanked me. 

In the official history, there is not even a line about the capture of Chobara. 

12 

Another irony is that according to the Corps HQ we were still at Arnia in India. 



13 


Chapter 3 

FIRM BASE AT SABZPIR-CROSS ROAD 

No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair. 

— George S Patton 

It was 9 th of September when we officially came under command 6 Armoured Division 
and were given a clear operational task to form a firm base at area Sabzpir - Cross Road. 

I had spent the night in a 6 by 2 
by 4 feet trench sharing it with 
signal operator taking radio-calls. 
The dawn started with a bang 
from the sky - Pak four missions 
of three to four sorties strafed us 
that day. They riddled bullets in 
the vehicle modified as CVLP 
(Command Vehicle Low Power) 
but only bullet holes were in the 
body of the vehicle, besides a set 
of one inch maps fixed on a 
hardboard and a radio set were 
damaged. The vehicle was a 
runner. A look at the photograph 
would show how ingeniously the 
vehicles were camouflaged to 
avoid spotting. 

A disturbing report was that as our tanks moved out, they trampled on the 
telephone cable laid to 5 JAK RIF. We, however, refrained from passing messages on 
radio. The CO promptly sent a young Second Lieutenant as Liaison Officer (LO). On my 
prompting CO 20 RAJPUT too obliged likewise. These young officers (YOs), fresh from 
training at the Infantry School, were a valuable asset, ever ready to lend a hand at 
manning command post, relieving me and the General Staff Officer Grade Three 
Intelligence (GS03(Int) ), carrying operational orders to the battalion, even, undertaking 
tough errands. The LO from 5 JAK brought with him handwritten morning situation 
report (SITREP), describing the operations in Chobara, the number of prisoners captured, 
and some useful information about the enemy. All this along with my assessment of the 
enemy forces from interrogation were sent to HQ I Armoured Division. There was no 
acknowledgement; more so, even action at Chobara is a casualty of exclusion in history. 

With the official cognisance of our coming under command of the Annoured 
Division, there was a welcome call from Lt Col (later Lt Gen of Vice Chief ranking) K 
Balaram, CO Signal Regiment; he thought that I was officer commanding (OC) of the 
Signal Company. This wrong impression continued to prevail even when he was a 




14 


speaker at the release of my book Sky is the Limit by Lt Gen Depinder Singh PVSM in 
2007. Lt Col Balaram sent a full-fledged Delta-One detachment (for radio 
communications from division HQ to subordinate fonnations), well-netted on 1 
Armoured Division command net and equipped with classified instructions, code-words 
and codenames — indeed a solicitous act as earlier there was no communication with any 
higher HQ and we did not have compatible wireless sets. 

Lt Col Rajeshwar Singh, CO 166 Field Regiment, came with the pleasing news that 
his unit was placed in direct support. Nonetheless, he was not sure whether the affiliation 
would abide as his unit was under command 6 Mountain Division and we were no more 
under that fonnation. Thenceforth, as we frequently changed divisions, this uncertainty 
nagged us persistently throughout the war. 

Another good tiding was arrival of a defence platoon ex 13 GRENADIERS — a 
composite of 19 Muslims and 1 1 Hindus whose loyalty, discipline, fearlessness and hard- 
work, I affirm by. They were an asset to project a sterling example of plurality of army 
and its common ideals and convictions. I was placed in an un-envious position of virtual 
command of Brigade Signal Company; the defence platoon; headquarter personnel 
connected with operations and intelligence and a newly raised Advanced Dressing 
Station (ADS) with a newly commissioned Anny Medical Corps (AMC) Officer who 
joined us that day. 

At about 0930 hours, the three of us, Commander, DAA&QMG and I were sitting 
on ground under a tree next to a trench — reviewing situation and appreciating for likely 
future. There was a loud earth-shaking gun fire. As the shell whizzed overhead, its sound 
was more shrieking than that of the field gun fire, of which we had got used to having 
been subjected to it throughout the previous night. All three of us jumped into the trench. 
The commander shouted, “I got it” A hand-sized splinter got stuck at the back of his 
trouser. I promptly took out my pistol and with its butt shook the splinter off the pants. It 
had singed the flesh but there was no wound. A wrap-up by field dressing was all that 
was needed. 

The enemy had zeroed on Cross Roads. A couple of more rounds came that way 
but did no damage. At that time we thought that medium guns were targeting us. Later — 
much later, it dawned that Pakistan had a couple of Heavy Regiments on the 
establishment of Pak 4 Artillery Brigade. I went round to see if there was any damage 
because of this shelling and what was jawans morale like. I was impressed to see unke 
mathe pe shiken tak nahin thi (there was not even a crease of fear or fret on their brows). 
A jawan asked me, “ Hamari guns unko bhi thok rahi hain na! (Are our guns hitting at 
them too?) I assured him and pointed at the sound of counter bombardment from our 
mediums deployed west of our location. 

There was a renewed drive to dig — dig hard and create command post bunker and 
weapon pits all with locally scattered materials. I marvel at the ingenuity of our jawans 
— if that could be the spirit in the motley of arms and services represented in a brigade 
HQ, I could imagine the exuberance in battalions imbued by homogeneity and team 



15 


spirit. The test of victory or defeat is not in number of tanks or aircraft destroyed of either 
side, but in morale gained or morale lost — .lest the writers of history fail to reflect. 

Grouping for Capture of Phillora 

The GOC 1 Corps issued the Operation Instruction No 2/65 on 10 September for the 
capture of Phillora and exploitation towards Chawinda the salient points of which were 
as under: - 

(a) 35 Infantry and one battalion from 116 Infantry Brigade were grouped with I 
Armoured Division for this battle; 

(b) 6 Mountain Artillery Brigade and 1 Corps Artillery Brigade (24 Medium 
Regiment only) were placed in support. 

(c) 58 Infantry Brigade less one battalion, with one battalion from 99 Mountain 
Brigade was to defend Charwa. 

(d) 99 Mountain Brigade less one battalion was to concentrate to the West and 
adjacent to 43 Lorried Infantry Brigade. The Formation was to come under 
command. 1 Armoured Division at 0530 hours, 1 1th September 1965. 

35 Infantry Brigade, supported by 2 LANCERS less one squadron, was to continue 
to hold the firm base in Area Sabzpir-Cross Roads 14 . These instructions and elaborations 
left lot of ambiguities 

(a) Where was the third battalion vis., 6 MARATHA LI and under whom? 

(b) Why was 35 Infantry Brigade not shown as brigade less one battalion, which 
it actually was? 

(c) What precisely was the status of 2 LANCERS — under command or in 
locality? The Regiment neither came as outstation on our command net, nor 
exchanged any tactical information with us — least, pertaining to their precise 
mission. 

Untold Deception 

In the late afternoon of 10 September, the Commander rang me up to say that we were 
moving forward at last light, and to be ready for move, but not to dismantle bu nk ers or 
fill up trenches. I rang up Lt Col Balaram so that we could remain in touch on radio. I 
was pleasantly surprised when he said, “Relax; you will get back. It is only a ruse meant 
for the other side. Keep your radio communications with me and the battalions on 
frequencies that I have already conveyed. Do not reel up any cable” I ventured, “Can I 
convey this to the Commander?” “Oh No, he will get orders from the GOC or staff. This 
is Signals to Signals,” was the advice. 



16 


We, i.e. the Brigade HQ “G” staff and the Signals, hit the road at the sunset as 
scheduled. Earlier, the Brigade “O” group — the Commander and the two COs had gone 
forward independently. As I crossed Chobara, I wondered whether we would be asked to 
turn to Gadgor or go on track towards Gillanwala. Suddenly, the quiet night turned 
abrasively shattering. A couple of artillery shells landed close by and there was sound of 
movement of tanks and their fire. We heard our gunners’ counter- fire. The deception had 
been conveyed. The orders came to turn back. 

We were back after a three hour mock outing. Late at night, Lt Col Balaram rang 
me up to say that he was listening on the intercept station and the enemy had been fooled 
effectively. This move was part of our surprise to attack Phillora from an unexpected 
direction. However, as per the official history the task was assigned to 1 Armoured 
Brigade to put in a realistic demonstration to entice the enemy armour towards Sabzpir 
and to create the impression that the attack was being launched from that direction. It was 
subsequently confirmed that these efforts did achieve a measure of surprise. 15 

Obviously, 1 Armoured Brigade could not have been at two widely separated axes 
at the same time — one real and the other fake. It was the move of 35 Infantry Brigade 
and contribution of its battalions that paid handsome dividends in collaboration of attack 
at Phillora from an unexpected direction by 1 Annoured Brigade which was a grand 
triumph. There is another angle to it. While the Brigade HQ returned to Cross Roads- 
Sabzpir, the two battalions 20 RAJPUT and 5 JAK RIF boosted Armoured Division's 
success at Gadgor, likewise 6 MARATHA LI at Phillora. They brought laurels to 
formations and units they fought alongside, in the meritorious tradition of the unknown 
soldiers and their unappreciated and unrewarded acts. 

Besides, they brought a bounty of captured stuff, which on the face of it, appeared 
to be trash, but it had valuable intelligence bits and pieces. There were formation signs of 
Pak 6 Annoured Division, 1 5 Division and unexpectedly that of 7 Division captured at 
the officers mess location at Gadgor. 16 Our units also brought a bagful of newspapers and 
letters addressed to Pak soldiers in Urdu and Pashto. Knowing Urdu and Persian 
languages and their script, as I do, I recognOised the units as 14 BALUCH, 8 Engineer 
Regiment and 87 EME Battalion 

Regrouping and Future Plans 

On 11th September, GOC I Corps ordered the regrouping to be completed by 12 
September, in preparation for the next phase of the operation. In this regrouping 58 
Infantry Brigade was shown as under command 1 Armoured Division and located at 
Charwa. 35 Infantry Brigade came under command 6 Mountain Division and shown as 
located in Sabzpir. 99 Mountain Brigade was shown as reverted to 6 Mountain Division 
and to move to Phillora. 17 Significantly there was no mention of our third battalion 6 
MARATHA LI; whether it would be returned to us or still under command 99 Infantry 
Brigade or placed under command any of the brigades of 1 Annoured Division. 



17 



Picture taken at Gadgor ont afternoon of 1 1 September 
1965, Author at left, Maj Gen Korla ■without headgear 
with back to camera and Maj Gen MB Menon DDMS 
Western Command facing the camera being briefed 


In the Afternoon of 11 
September I received a message 
from Lt Col Balaram that he was 
withdrawing Delta-One detachment 
as we were no more under command 
of Armoured Division and the 
detachment was required to be 
positioned with 58 Infantry Brigade. 
I checked with the Commander who 
had gone forward for a 
reconnaissance after the fall of 
Phillora-Gadgor I was instructed to 
come forward to carry out 
reconnaissance to site the brigade 
HQ. On the roadside I saw Maj Gen 
S K Korla in conversation with 
another General who was later 
identified as Maj Gen M B Menon, 
Deputy Director General Medical 
Services (DDMS), Western 
Command. The former waved me to 


stop. 


After this briefing was over Maj Gen Korla enquired from me the dispositions of 
the brigade. I told him that I was only in radio communications on Bravo-One with two 
battalions who were under 35 Infantry Brigade vis. 20 RAJPUT and 5 JAK RIF, both at 
Gadgor. About the third Battalion.6 MARATHA LI, I frankly told him, “I do not kn ow 
under whose command it is at present, what to talk of its frequent location-changing .The 
latest I hear is that it is at Phillora.” I also told him that we were not in communication 
with any divisional HQ ever since withdrawal of the Delta-One detachment from I 
Armoured Division and that even the staff did not give me a copy of the 6 Mountain 
Division orders. 

Maj Gen Korla appeared to be much concerned. He gave me the following orders-: 

(a) “Your brigade has been again placed under command 6 Mountain Division.” 

(b) “Your Commander is waiting for you at the Alhar Railway Station.” 

(c) “I have briefed your Commander. He will give you further orders.” 

(d) “I appreciate your problems of command, control and communications. I too 
have apprehensions on that account. I will sort out to the degree what is in my 
power.” 


18 


The Shape of Enemy Defences at Gadgor 

I visited Gadgor on 13 September along with CO 20 RAJPUT, Lt Col Kanwar who 

wanted me to have a look at the kind of 
defence layout made by 24 Infantry Brigade, 
which our battalion had captured after our 
own armour had run over the positions on 1 1 
September. I was impressed by the type of 
bu nk ers and tunneling enemy’s 8 Engineer 
Battalion had made. I clicked two photo- 
graphs. The one on the left is that of Pak 
officers mess. In the background is a school 
building on the road Gadgor - Phillora. 
Presumably, it must have been vacated for the 
troops on 7 September when 24 Brigade 
moved from Chobara to Gadgor. On the right 
is a view of the dug-in path-way to a set of 
bunkers. I did not have time to explore the inside of the bunkers. Both the battalions had 
done a good job in collecting worthwhile 
intelligence material - training pamphlets, 
uniforms, headgears, pass books, weapons, 
ammunitions, radio sets, telephones and 
countless nick knacks that betray the unit 
name and the ORBAT of the formation. All 
this stuff was sent to HQ 1 Armoured 
Division, who neither acknowledged it, nor 
got it analysed to derive tactical intelligence, 
the passage of which, both latterly and down 
the chain would have been invaluable, 
particularly so to those who assaulted the 
enemy positions in the battle of Chawinda. 





19 


Hard Kill of Pak Tanks and “B” Vehicles in Battle of Phillora 




Gen Korla inspecting Patton M 47 


Author atop Patton M 48 


Patton M48 


Patton M 47 




Pak B vehicles 






20 


Chapter 4 

MOVE TO MANGA: REGROUPING, COMMAND AND CONTROL 

FIASCOS 

There was 80 percent confusion on our side. 

Thank God! There was 160 percent confusion in Pak side 

— Brig EA Vas, (later Lt Gen) erstwhile 
Commander 69 Mountain Brigade 

After a chance meeting with the GOC 6 Mountain Division near Gadgor, elements of 
Signal Company and I headed for Alhar Railway Station. The photograph on the cover is 

illustrative of what I saw — I clicked 
quite a few. The one which attracted the 
Signals jawans is reproduced here. It 
invited an apt and perceptible comment, 
u Saabji, in xxxx ko keh do ki ham 
Abbottabad zaroor visit Karenge ” The 
place had a semblance of intense 
destruction due to a battle fought a 
couple of hours earlier by B Squadron of 
the Poona Horse. There were contents of 
an Indian vehicle spilled all over — 
some law books and files. I got them 
collected and put to fire lest they fall in wrong hands. Meanwhile a DR came with a 
message from the Commander that he was waiting for me at Manga and that he proposed 
to locate 5 JAK RIF at Chak Dea Singh, 20 RAJPUT at Alhar and the Brigade HQ at 
Manga. I did a quick reconnaissance of the first two places and found them totally 
deserted. 

I chose a hideout for the Signals from where they could install a ten-line 
exchange and keep a watch over the Railway station and the cart-tracks to Manga and 
Wazirwali. The Signals Observation Post was manned by a couple of jawans who were 
frequently turned over. I gave instructions to the Signals to lay a line to Manga ensuring 
that the cable was well buried in the ground and would not be damaged even when tanks 
pass over it. The post remained active and the cable survived even after the ceasefire. 

After expression of uncertainties to Maj Gen Korla, both the command nets were 
established and I passed our encoded locations on Delta-2 net to HQ 6 Mountain Division 
late at night on 1 1/12 September. The staff at the Division HQ sent a DR with an officer 
on 12 September, who could not find Manga in day light and returned to the Division HQ 
without delivering orders and instructions. So on the next day a rebuke came from the 
GOC addressed to the Commander as to where we were, and why his orders were not 
obeyed. The reply was sent giving our precise deployment. Later on 13 September, 





21 


another order came, this time from HQ 1 Armoured Division, placing our brigade in 
support of 1 Armoured Brigade for attack on Chawinda on 14 September. 

Confusion Confounded 

Where were we; under whose command; and what mission? Neither the official history 
nor the other writers had a clue. They had been, obviously, fed wrong information and 
had not checked up the war diary submitted by me. According to the Corps Instruction 
we were required to move forward and be poised for an attack on Chawinda, to be in 
position by last Light 12 September. Accordingly, we moved up, established Brigade HQ 
at Manga, shifted 5 JAK RIF to Chak Dea Singh, and 20 RAJPUT to Alhar.. See 
Appendix “B” Now see the contradictions. According to Maj Gen Lachhman Singh Lehl 
on the evening of 1 1 September, I Corps Commander ordered regrouping for the next 
phase of operation according to which we were to be under command 1 Armoured 
Division in Gadgor area. 18 

Unknown to us the enemy had captured Operation Order No. 3, issued by our 1 
Armoured Brigade on 17 September from martyred Tarapore’s tank. 19 It showed our 
attack plan. 69 Mountain Brigade with 62 Cavalry under command, and 99 Infantry 
Brigade with 2 LANCERS less one squadron under command, were to hold firm bases at 
Bhagowal (Pagowal) and Phillora respectively. 1 Armoured Division supported by 35 
Infantry Brigade was to capture Chawinda and in the process destroy Pak 6 Armoured 
Division. The operation was to commence on 14 September. Now the contraries on the 
ground :- 

(a) On 13 September, our Brigade less 6 MARATHA LI was under command 6 
Mountain Division and not I Armoured Division. 6 MARATHA LI too was 
under command 99 Mountain Brigade, a fonnation of 6 Mountain Division 
though the brigade was placed under command I Armoured Division. 

(b) We were holding a firm base at strategically vital Alhar and Chak Dea Singh 
with Brigade HQ at Manga, which is at stone’s throw from the Railway 
Station. This compact complex is closer to the enemy than the much hyped, 
indispensability-hogged, firm-base at Phillora, It is central to both the 
Northern and Southern axes and ideally poised for attack at Chawinda. This 
was the locale from where brigade commander gave his orders; the base to 
which troops fell back after withdrawal from Chawinda and Jassoran on 19 
September; the site from where gunners and infantry frustrated the last-ditch 
attempt to seize the Alhar Railway Station by the enemy; the locale where 
formal and informal flag meetings took place; and which became the show- 
piece for own pride and publicity and a thorn in the vitals of the enemy. 

(c) After our annour action on 1 1 September 1965 by B Squadron Poona Horse, a 
day later 35 infantry Brigade through 20 RAJPUT was in full control of Alhar 
Railway Station right up to the ceasefire, even months beyond. It is true that 4 
HORSE came up to the Railway Line and was stopped from crossing it by 
Commander 1 Annoured Brigade but the contention that 4 RAJ RIF of 99 



22 


20 

Infantry Brigade were located at Alhar" is a myth. Even if that be so, then 
why did they not release our battalion 6 MARATHA LI, which continued to 
be at Phillora? 

(d) If we were to capture Chawinda on 14 or 15 September as given in Operation 

Order ibid, surely we couldn’t have been incorrectly shown to have been 

21 

moved to Charwa on 15 September" as contended by both the official history 
and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh. 

The official history collaborating the Army Commander’s narrative insinuates that 
we were hurled back to Charwa at the International Border and were out of action. Here 
we were closest to the enemy at Alhar-Manga complex wondering as to whether it was an 
understandable staff goof up or an intentionally inserted historical fib to support the 
misconception that we were merely protecting HQ Annoured Division and not 
committed to holding worthwhile firm base, besides a deliberate pretext to justify 
“availability”, . 

The situation was reviewed on 16 September at a conference chaired by the GOC 
Corps and attended by the GOC 1 Armoured Division and GOC 6 Mountain Division at 
Maharajke. The plan in outline was as under:- 22 

(a) 6 Mountain Division with under command 35 and 58 Infantry Brigade and 99 
Mountain Brigade, was to capture and hold Chawinda on night 17/18 
September 1965. Thereafter, it was to exploit towards Pasrur and Dugri Cross 
Roads. 

(b) On capture of Chawinda and after leaving sufficient armour under command 6 
Mountain Division for the security of the area, 1 Armoured Division was to 
capture and hold Badiana. One infantry brigade from 6 Mountain Division 
was to be made available to 1 Armoured Division after the capture of Badiana. 

(c) 14 Infantry Division was to be prepared to capture Zafarwal as soon as 
Badiana was secured. One squadron of armour was to be made available to 
this formation by I Armoured Division for this task. 

Significantly, neither GOC 14 Infantry Division was present, nor heads of 
supporting arms vis. Artillery, Engineers and Signals were in attendance. However, a 
Corps plan, on the blink, was made to capture Chawinda, Badiana and Zafarwal — three 
built-up areas of unsure enemy potential, each a difficult nut to crack. 6 Mountain 
Division with two borrowed brigades was given the task of attacking Chawinda. The 
responsibility of capturing Badiana and Zafarwal was delegated to 1 Annoured Division 
and 14 Infantry Division respectively — the latter minus two brigades i.e. just a brigade 
worth. There was not even wee bit of intelligence about enemy and no coordination 
whatsoever with the Gunners, Engineers and Signals what to talk of the crucial Indian Air 
Force (IAF) for close support and to counter the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). 



23 


35 Infantry Brigade went to battle with uncertain fate and yet delivered what our 
Nation ought to be proud of. 



Phillora Police Station and adjoining building used as a mess for the Pak 
Police, Rangers and Mujahideen both photographed after the ceasefire 
The original name board in Urdu, at the police station, was removed and 
carried away by Poona Horse to adorn their Quarter Guard. The name board 
as seen in the photograph is a fake replica 


24 


Chapter 5 

BATTLE OF CHAWINDA 

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, 
but because he loves what is behind him. ” 

— GK Chesterton 

From the division no operation order was received. Some operational briefing was given 
to the Commander based on which he called the battalion commanding officers at 1600 
hours on 16 September at Alhar Railway Station. Before leaving, he told me the broad 
outline of the plan that was issued to him, vis.:- 

(a) The divisional attack will be launched on the night 17/18 September under 6 
Mountain Division by 58 Infantry Brigade on our East and our brigade on the 
West of the Railway Line as boundary between the two. 

(b) 99 Mountain Brigade is slated to be in reserve 

(c) I Armoured Brigade is in contact with the enemy West of the Railway Line 
and North of Chawinda. Firm base will be in Jassoran under arrangements of 
the Armoured Brigade. 

(d) The attack will be in two phases. In Phase 1, 35 Infantry Brigade was required 
to capture Area Road Junction 8803 to Railway Track Junction 8802; and in 
Phase II, to mop up Chawinda. 

I had a spate of questions to ask the Commander, to which he had no answers 
because none had been given to him. He asked me to get them clarified from the 
divisional staff. Let me put them down — even if, it may be in un-chronological and un- 
appreciation like factorial order: 

(a) The railway line takes a near-ninety degree turn at Chawinda outskirts. The 
boundary does not extend southwards where the objectives were planned to 
be. The objectives need to be well-defined and discernable at night, which 
they are not without looking at the map. 

(b) This being a divisional attack, I hope the division HQ would issue a formal 
operation order. This may be done forthwith as we have very little time to 
pass orders down the chain; battalions to conduct daylight reconnaissance and 
the Brigade HQ to liaise with the Gunners, the Sappers and the Signals. 

(c) What is the known strength and dispositions of enemy in Chawinda town? 
The gunners would have precise knowledge of the location of at least gun 



25 


areas. We believe that the heavy and medium guns are immediately South of 
Chawinda precincts. 

(d) Where are the Forming Up Place (FUP) and the Start Line (SL)? Who will 
secure them? I hope we do not run into our own armour. Would 6 Mountain 
Division HQ do the liaison with 1 Armoured Division? In the immediate past 
we have been receiving mutually contradictory orders from both the divisions. 

(e) What is the “H” hour? I hope 166 Field regiment is in direct support and the 
CO and battery commanders will join us to plan and coordinate fire power. 

(f) No mopping up can be done at night. During daytime, too, it is not an easy 
task as we know from action at Charwa and our own experience at Chobara. I 
wondered why this job couldn’t be given to the reserve brigade. 

(g) In Phase 2, we should establish a defended position as a blockade in 
conjunction with armour to cut off withdrawal of enemy infantry and artillery 
from Chawinda to Pasrur. Does that have the Division HQ approval? 

(h) What if enemy has laid mines? Are any Assault Engineers being grouped with 
us? The apprehension that “enemy had probably mined the approach to 
Chawinda astride Road Phillora - Chawinda” 23 was later proved right. 

When I posed these questions to the divisional staff, the response was either 
negative, “you decide” or “we will let you know”. Apparently, they too were as un- 
informed and clueless as we were in the Brigade HQ. Even the GOC was in the dark. 
However, having gone through rigorous assessments on writing appreciations and 
operational orders at promotion examinations, Staff College entrance examination and 
more so, mass of tactical exercises without troops at the Staff Course under the tutelage 
of highly distinguished soldiers like Lt Gen Sinha, I did a mental appreciation, modified 
the plan and justified it at a post operations sand model conducted by the Corps after the 
ceasefire. It helped in retrieving the morale and dignity of the brigade, more so that of the 
infantry, supporting arms and profession of soldiering. 

Brigade Operation Order in Signal Format 

I took the initiative to write a Brigade Operational Order in Signal format, Its salient 
points, as I recollect, were: 

(a) Enemy. As earlier identified; Pak 24 Brigade or part thereof; exact 
dispositions not known, well dug in and tunneled; maybe protected by 
minefield astride roads and railway track. Gun area in Chawinda outskirts, 
may be further South near mile stone 5 Road Chawinda-Pasrur. Enemy 
artillery is laced with heavy and medium guns. There are reconnaissance 
reports of extensive diggings in and around Chawinda. 


26 


(b) Phases and Objectives 

(]) Phase 1. 5 JAK RIF to capture area Civil Rest House and Post and 
Telegraph Office (PTO); 6 MARATHA LI to capture area Chawinda 
Railway Station. 

(ii) Phase 2. 20 RAJPUT to capture area Mile Stone 5 on Road Chawinda- 
Pasrur extending to Railway Line to cut off rail and road communications, 
establish a support base, and conduct mopping up operations in 
conjunction with 6 MARATHA LI and assistance of I Armoured Brigade. 

(c) Boundaries 

(i) Inter Brigade. Railway Line inclusive to 5 JAK RIF to coordinate with 4 
JAK RIF of 58 Infantry Brigade. 

(ii) Intra Brigade. Between 5 JAK RIF and 6 MARATHA LI, Track Butur- 
Dograndi-Railway Station inclusive to 6 MARATHA LI. 

(d) Assembly Area. Jassoran; already secured by 1 Armoured Brigade. 

(e) FUP. East of Butur Dograndi for Phase 1; West of Butur Dograndi for Phase 

2; already secured by 1 Armoured Brigade. 

(f) ‘H’ Hour. 0100 18 September. 

(g) Fire Support. 2359 hours 17 September to 0101 18 September; assured. 

Direct support by 166 Field regiment sought till completion of Phase 2. 

(h) Radio Silence. Last light till 2359 hours 17 September. 

(j) Location Brigade HQ and Communications 

(i) In Phase 1, present location. OC Signal Company with GS03(Int) Brigade 
HQ, a section from Defence Platoon, a Forward Observation Officer 
(FOO) from 166 Field Regiment, if allotted, and part of Signal company to 
move to FUP at Butur Dograndi to set up advance HQ of Brigade with line 
communications extending from Alhar Railway station to FUP and be an 
outstation on Bravo-one (Command radio net of the Brigade). 

(ii) In Phase 2, move to Butur Dograndi for subsequent operations. 

I took the draft operational order for Commander’s approval after his return from 
Alhar Railway Station. He was reluctant to issue it in the absence of divisional operation 
order, and because of its many ifs and buts, the main being presence and support of 1 . 
Armoured Division at vital location and critical time. I told him about my discussion with 



27 


the Divisional Staff and their evasive response. His worry was non-release of 6 
MARATHA LI by 1 Annoured Division. After speaking to the GOC, he let me issue the 
operational order. Little did we realise then that there would be grave shocks of our own 
making and lack of rapport at the divisional commanders’ level, await us. Sure enough 
this prudent plan was put to naught and the entire operation to jeopardy. It was sheer 
absurdity to deprive us of 20 RAJPUT who would have hit out at enemy gun areas and 
put the entire 4 Artillery Brigade and two self propelled regiments out of action. 

Enemy Account of Strength and Layout of Chawinda Defences 

See Appendix “C” for enemy dispositions as on 16 September 1965 This is what Abrar 
Hussain writes about enemy dispositions, “24 Brigade Group with 2 Punjab, 3 FF, 14 
BALUCH, B Coy 13 FF and 25 Cavalry under its command had established a strong 
defensive position in the general area of Chawinda, in an area principally covering 5500 
to 6600 yards from Jassoran in the West to the general area Dogranwali in the East. The 
affiliated 31 Field Regiment less Battery, 1 (SP) Field Regiment and Battery 8 Medium 
Regiment were close at hand, well forward in direct support. Thus, the Brigade had a 
compact position — 14 BALUCH in the centre and front, 3 FF and 2 Punjab on the two 
flanks, and 25 Cavalry in the middle to manoeuvre on interior lines mostly within an 
infantry defended box.” 24 

Chawinda was protected on both the fla nk s. On its left i.e. “West of Pak 24 
Infantry Brigade was the special Task Force formed on 13 September with Guides 
Cavalry FF, 22 Cavalry, and 14 FF under its command” " On the right i.e. East of 
Chawinda initially defences were taken over by Pak 14 Para Brigade and later on its 
arrival by 10 Brigade of which 9 FF Battalion was located near Mile stone 5 on 
Chawinda Pasrur road 26 — our second phase objective. Pak 4 Corps Artillery, with fifty- 
four guns of all calibres, was deployed echeloned between Chawinda and Pasrur with one 
field battery away in Zafarwal. Later, on 15/16 September, thirty-six more field guns of 
15 and 16 (SP) Field Regiments ex-1 Armoured Division were made available and 

77 

deployed on the Badiana axis. 

The Pakistanis had given high importance to entrenching and strengthening their 
defence pivots. Top priority was accorded to Chawinda. Abrar Hussain writes, “The idea 
of an armoured division in a defensive role asking for mines and other defence stores 
was, at last no longer considered unorthodox. In fact mines were being offered to us 
faster than we could lay them.” 28 Some enemy tanks of Pak 25 Cavalry were in pill boxes 
.on Northern fla nk of Chawinda and some along the railway line, west of it. 

Before our attack on Chawinda, enemy had brought fresh troops from Pak 1 
Armoured Division and shifted another brigade ex Pak 8 Division to augment Pak 6 
Armoured Division, Pak 1 5 Division and elements of Pak 8 Division, already in situ. 
Significantly, Pak 24 Brigade Group came under command Pak 8 Division. We were not 
privy to this vital intelligence — even post-event. 



28 


Our Armoured Brigade’s Incorrect Assessment of Enemy Strength and Dispositions 

The official history writes the flawed and biased version of our 1 Armoured Brigade, 
which claimed that favourable conditions had been created by their group for an infantry 
assault on Chawinda on 14, 15, 16 and 17 September. Their view was, “As both 
Chawinda and Badiana had been isolated and cut off from three sides and as both had 
also been invested from the rear by 1 Armoured Brigade, particularly on 16 and 17 
September, it was possible to capture easily both these objectives by an infantry assault. 
These objectives were thinly held by enemy infantry, possibly not more than two 
companies in each place . The annoured brigade was precluded from assaulting these 
objectives, as both were built up areas.” 

Comparative Force Levels and Enemy Dispositions 

The comparative table of opposing forces on night 18/19 September given at Appendix 
“D” lucidly describes the enemy vs. our strength. Pak defences at Chawinda were 
substantially strengthened with defensive minefields, bunkers, pill boxes and extensive 
tunneling, when we attacked them on the night of 18/19 September. According to Abrar 
Hussain, “The (Pak) Sappers did a good job, laying mines under the very nose of the 
enemy, around the Chawinda defences, which were given top priority. Work continued 
apace on the other positions also. It was clear that the sooner these pivots were developed 
into strong infantry — anti-tank localities, the quicker we would be able to relieve the 
annoured regiments from their involvement in positional engagements and use them 

32 

more freely and aggressively in their correct role. 

Five assaulting units of infantry, with indifferent support of other arms, faced 
enemy’s four plus infantry units, one dug in armour unit with 56 artillery guns of various 
calibers in situ, and 36 guns of 15 and 16 (SP) Field Regiments of Pakistan’s 1 Annoured 
Division in range. 

Happenings that Cast Shadows on Brigade Plan to Attack Chawinda 

The enemy had got hang of our positions at Manga and Alhar. At daybreak on 17 
September, enemy aircraft struck at our positions. The Brigade HQ at Manga and 20 
RAJPUT at Alhar were subjected to sorties after sorties from air and incessant artillery 
fire. In the afternoon, we learnt about the confusion regarding under whose command we 
were. In the evening, sad news came that CO 5 JAK RIF, Lt Col Sukhdev Singh was 
wounded while on reconnaissance of the objective, and had since been evacuated. I rang 
up the second-in command Maj Suraj Singh and assured him of our full support through 
thick and thin. 

Later, we leamt that the attack at Chawinda on night 17/18 September had been 
postponed to night 18/19 September. We were not informed about the logic to do so. The 
Official History writes, “ Unfortunately , at this stage, certain factors intervened to 
jeopardise the success of the operation. According to plans made at the conference at 
Maharajke, orders were issued by HQ I Corps placing 35 Infantry Brigade under 
command 6 Mountain Division from 1 Armoured Division, but the Brigade through a 



29 


misunderstanding was moved forward from its location in Gadgor to area Phillora by HQ 
1 Armoured Division on night 16/17 September. This had apparently been done to 
support an attack on Chawinda planned earlier by 1 Annoured Division and scheduled to 
go in night 16/17 September 1965. The Brigade was later moved back to its original 
location, but valuable time was lost in the process. In view of this development, the attack 
on Chawinda by 6 Mountain Division on night 17/18 September was again postponed by 
24 hours on representation from GOC 6 Mountain Division.” 33 

This argument, flawed and inconsistent with facts as it was, and still is, further 
accentuated the prevailing crises as to who was in command of 35 Infantry Brigade and 
whose orders had to be obeyed — easy said, dangerous and destructive it proved: 

(a) 35 Infantry Brigade was never located at Gadgor. Therefore, in no way, it ever 
moved to Phillora and back throughout the eighteen-day war. 

(b) As earlier stated, Brigade HQ was at Manga and two battalions vis. 20 
RAJPUT and 5 JAK RIF were at Alhar and Chak Dea Singh respectively ever 
since 12 September. We had developed Alhar-Manga complex as a firm base 
for further operations. It was the third battalion vis. 6 MARATHA LI located 
at Phillora, which was not being released to us. We were not sure whether it 
was still under command 99 Mountain Brigade or placed under another 
formation. 

(c) We had neither been on the command nets of the Armoured Division since 1 1 
September, nor in communication with them on line. Whereas, consequent to 
my briefing GOC 6 Mountain Division on 11 September, reasonable 
communications were established with us particularly on Delta-2 for passage 
of classified infonnation. 

(d) On 16 th evening, Brigade Commander was giving orders to the three battalion 
commanders at Alhar Railway Station for attack on Chawinda and I was busy 
taking stock of the situation to attack Chawinda that appeared far from viable; 
searching for nuts and bolts to firm up the plan, seeking help and coordination 
from the divisional staff with a view to writing Brigade Operation Order. It 
would facilitate the battalions to carry out, what apparently was the toughest 
mission of the war. The DAA&QMG was running around from pillar to post 
trying to assess and make up vital deficiencies in weapons and equipment, 
besides arranging casualty evacuation. One wonders how we could be on the 
move and busy, though fallaciously, in shifting the brigade, back and forth 
between Gadgor and Phillora. 

(e) What historians write did not happen. The operation was postponed to night 
18/19 September — neither on our plea, nor to our advantage. It gave enemy 
another 24 hours to induct more troops and strengthen defences at Chawinda; 
worse, it gave our armour a justification to vacate Butur Dograndi, Fatehpur 
and Jassoran. 



30 


Another Bombshell 

GOC 1 Armoured Division, on the reasoning that his troops had been holding Butur 
Dograndi, Fatehpur and Jassoran against heavy enemy opposition, and that it would be 
difficult to stick on to these positions for another 24 hours, decided to withdraw from the 
first two but assured that the position at Jassoran would be held at al costs in view of its 
vital importance of being a firm base for the operations of 35 Infantry Brigade. He 
assured that enemy armour would not be allowed to interfere with the operations at 
Chawinda. 34 But due to some more misunderstanding, 1 Armoured Brigade withdrew its 
troops from Jassoran also on 18 September 1965, along with the vacation of the other 
pivots, ~ before 6 Mountain Division could mount the attack. GOC 1 Armoured Division, 
therefore, ordered ...Commander 1 Armoured Brigade to reoccupy Jassoran and establish 
a firm base for the attack of 35 Infantry Brigade. “Commander 1 Annoured Brigade, 
however, did not comply with this order as he thought that it would not be possible to 
recapture this position at such a short notice.” 36 He, however, promised to position his 
tanks at Jassoran by first light 19 September, which too did not happen. 

As if this fiasco was not appalling enough, 6 Mountain Division assigned capture 
of Jassoran to 20 RAJPUT creating a serious void and a setback in the scheduled plan of 
our operation. By no stretch of imagination, 20 RAJPUT was a reserve battalion. In 
Phase 2 of the attack, it had a vital task of capturing area MS 5 on Road Chawinda-Pasrur 
stretching up to the railway line, and mopping up Chawinda town on the premise that its 
flanks would be secure because of presence of armour. Our entire plan went for a six, that 
too, at the eleventh hour. Why, indeed why, the reserve 99 Mountain brigade could not be 
asked to spare a battalion or two for this task as on that fateful day they were neither 
holding Alhar, nor Wazirwali. However, “Ours is not to question why!” So we obeyed 
the orders and perforce gave onerous task of Phase 2 operations also to 6 MARATHA LI 
— with deleterious results to follow. 


Phase 1 of Attack on Chawinda Night 18/19 September 1965 

See Appendix “E”. In phase 1, both, 5 JAK RIF and 6 MARATHA LI faced 3 FF. Let us 
have a look at what Abrar Hussain writes, “At 0100 hours they (that means we) launched 
a strong attack from the direction of Jassoran. In the fighting that ensued, 3 FF again left 
their positions and fled in disorder towards the gun areas where some of them were 
stopped by the gunners but not before they had created considerable alarm and 
confusion.” Abrar Hussain is candid about the performance of 3 FF, while it was under 
the command of Pak 15 Division, and had suffered considerably in the early stages of our 
offensive i.e., at Chobara and Gadgor. Interestingly, it was 5 JAK RIF that had faced 3 
FF on both the occasions and had created the fear complex in enemy’s psyche 38 . Abrar 
Hussain writes, “3 FF had obviously not overcome their initial shock. Their performance 
throughout the battle had therefore remained uncertain and erratic.” 39 

At the unsecured FUP, both the assaulting and follow up companies of 5 JAK RIF 
as well as 6 MARATHA LI came under intense artillery fire. 2/Lt Ravinder Singh 



31 


Samiyal led Alfa Company in the first wave of assault. He encountered an enemy dug out 
with medium machine gun (MMG). As he jumped in, the enemy ran away, he turned the 
MMG on the enemy and presumably shot one of them. He earned Vir Chakra for bravery. 

Lt Col AM Manohar led the first wave of two companies of 6 MARATHA LI and 
gallantly captured Chawinda Railway Station. In the Operation Order that I had issued, it 
was the objective of the first phase. So both the battalions, in the first wave of two 
companies each, had crushed enemy 3 FF positions, and secured the Railway Line. 
Virtually it implies four companies assaulting and overpowering four enemy companies 
that occupied well dug in positions and was supported by massive fire power. The enemy 
calls these attacks as “the most determined infantry charges” made by us. Contrary to 
hearsay, both official and unofficial, our infantry’s performance had no parallel in 
history. 

Codeword “ Abhimanyu ” for securing Phase I objective and heading for the Phase 2 
objective was the last we heard. The VHF radio set carried by the intelligence officer 2/Lt 
LK Nadgir went dead and a dynamic leader Lt Col Manohar and a promising youngster 
were martyred on their way to Phase 2 of the objective. Lt Col Manohar’s son, who was 
commissioned in the same unit, regrets that his father had been denied a place in the 
annals of history. I, too, feel the same — Lt Col Manohar and two companies of 6 
MARATHA LI had entered the enemy defended box as the Veer Abhimanyu had 
penetrated the chakra-viyuha in Mahabharata. They sacrificed themselves in the finest 
traditions of the profession of soldiering. 

Phase 2 of Attack on Chawinda: Night 18/19 September 1965 


The enemy went totally haywire as Marathas moved southward from Chawinda Railway 
Station along the railway line towards Phase 2 objective. Abrar Hussain writes, “The 
reports now coming in were confusing and the battle picture remained obscure for a 
considerable time. Darkness, fear of the exaggerated and highly distorted accounts by the 
withdrawing troops of 3 FF, and the serious threat that was developing to the gun areas, 
all combined into a fairly grim picture.” 40 It caused tremendous worry amongst the 
enemy about the safety of the gun areas as we came “within 1500 yards of enemy’s 
leading gun positions”. 41 

“Just before the dawn Marathas were steadily working their way towards the 
Chawinda — Pasrur road. “As the first rays of light pierced the darkness, Pak C squadron 
of 25 Cavalry, deployed in crescent shape “opened up with everything they had — .30s, 
.50s, the HE of the main ta nk guns, the weapons of the infantry in their dug-in positions, 
and all the guns of the artillery within reach.’ 42 See Appendix “F” enemy’s dispositions 
that faced 6 MARATHA LI in Phase 2 at dawn on 19 September 

The follow-up companies of both the battalions had come under intense fire and 
suffered heavy casualties. They could not make it to their assigned objectives even marry 
up with the assaulting companies of the first wave. They fell back — 5 JAK to Chak Dea 



32 


Singh and two companies and battalion HQ of 6 MARATHA LI to South East of Alhar 
village. . 


Loss of Communication Control 

The netting of Signal Communication was done by the Brigade HQ team led by 
temporally appointed OC Brigade Signal Company and GS03(Int) at Alhar Railway 
Station before the two assaulting battalions left for the so-called firm base at Jassoran. 
They had a relay station on HF with control at Brigade HQ and two VHF sets for 
communications with forward nets of the assaulting battalions. Till 0100 hours at night 
there was radio silence. It was lifted prompt at that time. The first news I received was 
that Butur Dograndi was under intense artillery fire and both the battalions had 
abandoned it as FUP. The advance HQ team took the initiative of staying put near 
Jassoran. The voice Command Net with the Division HQ was not responding. 

Close to 0400 hours or so, Codeword Abhimanyu was received from Lt Col 
Manohar. It bucked up my morale but it was momentary and then all communications 
went dead. A splinter had pierced the relay radio-set. It was abandoned. I lost 
communication control with the assaulting battalions. The troops started withdrawing. I 
informed the Brigade Commander on telephone at Alhar Railway Station. He rushed 
back and tried to speak to the GOC, but there was no response. Their concerns had 
shifted to 58 infantry Brigade, riddled with more serious setback. 

What Went Wrong? 

The plan required a high degree of battlefield management, staff work, coordination, co- 
operation and liaison between the formations. Until then GOC 1 Armoured Division had 
exercised de facto command and control of the offensive whereas 6 and 14 Division’s 
roles were secondary and limited to playing paltry contrivance of flank and firm-base 
protection of the main offensive. The new plan allotted the primary role to 6 Mountain 
Division; with 1 Armoured Division playing a supportive role. 43 Regrettably, in this case, 
personalities mattered — not the intactness of formations and cohesive support of all 
arms. The concept of grouping and regrouping without the knowledge of role, 
organisation, strength, weakness and training of constituents was flawed to the marrows. 
There was no team spirit, camaraderie and togetherness; let alone knowledge of 
neighbouring units and subunits — which was which, with what mission and where 
located. 

The Corps HQ was conspicuous by its absence and non-commitment to execution 
from the word "Go". Little thought was given to keeping the formations’ cohesion 
unbroken and to assigning a distinct mission; instead passing on conduct of mutually 
divergent operations of war e.g. in our case — one battalion was given defensive role i.e. 
holding a firm base, and the other two were committed on the most challenging offensive 
role i.e. assaulting a well defended town and mopping up the built-up area. 1 Armoured 
Division, at one stage had five brigades under command — two were employed for 



33 


offensive operations and three for holding ground. Likewise 6 Mountain Division had 
four brigades i.e. 12 battalions of which five battalions were employed for attack at 
Chawinda and seven for holding ground. As to the Artillery, Engineers and Signals 
support for offensive operations, there was a total vacuum and a telling shortcoming, both 
in holdings and employment. 



The three Generals, who held significant responsibilities 
but bore little space and credit in official history. 
Right to Left, S K Korla, Ranjit Singh and 
MB Menon (DDMS) 



34 


Chapter 6 

WITHDRAWAL FROM JASSORAN AND BATTLE OF ALHAR 

Armour does not capture ground, it overruns it: 

It is Infantry that secures and holds ground. 

— Lt Gen S K Sinha 


Aftermath of Chawinda Battle 

Enemy tanks broke out from Chawinda outskirts heading northward towards Jassoran and 
Alhar Railway Station. Firing by enemy 4 Artillery Brigade intensified. Pakistan had 
gained almost double the strength from supplement troops vis, Pak 4 Armoured Brigade 
with 19 LANCERS, 22 Cavalry and 19 FF; Pak 14 (Para) Brigade with 1 Punjab and 20 
BALUCH, and Pak 10 Brigade deployed in Pasrur-Fazilka areas with 9 FF moved to 
Chawinda. On 19 th morning Pak Air OP of Army Aviation were conspicuously active and 
showed a great deal of precision in guiding fire at our troops, and Refer to Appendix “F” 

Enemy Attack on Jassoran on 19 September 

A counter attack force of Pak 4 Armoured Brigade and 14 (Para) Brigade were ordered to 
clear the Northern edge of Rakh Baba Bhure Shah which was still in our hands and then 
be prepared to destroy the enemy in Alhar, Fatehpur and Bheloke. We were holding these 
positions against all odds. Pak plan was to secure the whole of Rakh and attack us from 
the West. 44 Meanwhile, the pressure was building up against Jassoran. Luckily 
communications with 20 RAJPUT were through. The Second-in-Command was often on 
the set himself apprising me that the position was getting highly untenable. Own armour 
had been intercepted. The division HQ, although through, continued to be unresponsive. I 
wanted them to give orders to withdraw from Jassoran and hold Alhar’s well dug-in, 
well-prepared position that I had personally reconnoitred and 20 RAJPUT were holding 
prior to moving to Jassoran. Alhar-Chak Dea Singh complex was a firm Base as a firm 
base ought to be. Jassoran, which I saw later while on the way to the first Flag Meeting, 
was a pathetic pretence and a poor substitute for a firm base. 

Our 1 Armoured Brigade was all frittered away with the highly convoluted and 
pushy plan of tackling simultaneously, vis.: (a) Protection of flanks of two infantry 
brigades in launching attack at Chawinda; (b) Assistance to 116 Infantry Brigade in 
securing Zafarwal, and of greater significance, (c) capture Badiana on its own. It was a 
tall order that, too, not knowing and planning for the enemy reinforcement, which had 
almost doubled their strength. Presumably, 62 Cavalry was designated for securing 
Jassoran at first light and reassuring us the bequest of firm base. However, even that late 
hour the unit had to be diverted southward — thus further compounding our hurt. 



35 


CO 20 RAJPUT Lt Col SS Kanwar was wounded by shell-splinter and evacuated. 
Second in Command Maj JC Verma showed immense pluck and held on to the position 
at Jassoran in the face of concerted armour, artillery and air strikes of the enemy. The 
counter-attack came at 1500 hours or so. J C Verma was killed in action, minutes before 
the Division HQ allowed withdrawal of the battalion to east of Railway Line on my 
persistent requests. Verma sacrificed his life to save the honour of his Battalion, the 
Brigade, and the Country. If this is not bravery, what else is? 

The enemy armour came right up to the railway line. Bulk of the brigade withdrew 
to East of the railway Line. Twenty nine brave officers and jawans were martyred on 

19 September. I do not know the names of Jawans who were wounded, and later 
died/incapacitated for life, but I do lament that I failed in my efforts to get the withdrawal 
orders to coincide with pull-out of own armour. It would have saved the assorted infantry 
troops gathered at Jassoran, particularly the Second-in-Command of 20 RAJPUT. In view 
of heavy casualties and all battalions bereft of commanding officers, a leadership-void 
surfaced. This further led to unprecedented challenges. There was a worried look all 
around — a mood of concern, uncertainty and lack of information about comrades who 
were left in Pak held territory — killed or missing in action. 

Regaining Control and Balance 

Withdrawal is a rough and tough operation of war. I was at the Command Post when a 
runner came on the run saying that the Brigade Commander was standing hatless and 
without a weapon and protection at the Alhar Railway Station, trying to restore order in 
withdrawing troops. I grabbed a stengun and ran at a sprint reminiscent of the dash at the 
conclusion of Camp Chindits at the Academy. I stood by Commander’s side. We restored 
order within minutes and guided troops to well-prepared trenches and bunkers. 

No history book has ever written eulogising contribution of Army Medical Corps 
(AMC) to the war effort. But for their dedication and presence in the thick of enemy 
shelling, our losses in lives would have been high and morale of the living heavily 
shattered. The Assistant Director Medical Sciences (ADMS) of 6 Mountain Division 
went from trench to trench with his team, looking for the wounded and getting them 
evacuated. No measure of appreciation and gratitude can suffice for their devotion and 
professionalism. 

Defence of Alhar Railway Station 

Night 19/20 September was a critical night. Our immediate concern was to prepare 
ourselves for the defence of Alhar Railway Station and ensure its continued holding by 

20 RAJPUT under Maj Vijay Verma. It construed a grave strategic loss for the enemy 
and a thorn in their vitals. 

On either side of the Railway Station, there was an embankment, which is not 
easily negotiated by the armour. But, up-North, the enemy annour had made inroads and 
had reoccupied Rakh Baba Bhure Shah, part of it across the Railway Line on our side. 



36 


Here 4 HORSE had dismounted the remnants of two companies of 6 MARATHA LI, 
whom they rescued from counterattack by enemy armour at Chawinda. 

Battalion support weapons i.e. Recoil Less (RCL) guns and MMGs were 
appropriately positioned with bias to covering enemy attack from Northern approach. 
That night as on later, 4 Rajputana Rifles (4 RAJ RIF) of 99 Mountain Brigade was 
located South of Libbe. It had, probably, positioned a company plus near Khananwali. On 
20th September morning, the battalion was placed under command our brigade. The 
greatest irony and fallacy is that the Corps Commander, reportedly, held a coordinating 
conference at 1600 hours on 20 th September, according to which the entire 35 Infantry 
Brigade was packed up to be sent to Changarian and paradoxically just one battalion, i.e. 
4 RAJ RIF was designated to take over the defence of Alhar, 45 

Mercifully these orders were not implemented. Although the official history does 

not say so, the Brigade HQ stayed at 
Manga with infantry disposition as 
shown in the sketch at Appendix ”G”. 
Contrary to the thinking at the Corps 
HQ, the views at the Command HQ 
were largely realistic. “It was 
appreciated that despite the apparent 
desire for peace, enemy forces might 
put in a series of strong offensive 
actions in a last minute bid to save face 
and strengthen their subsequent 
bargaining capability. In the event, this 
proved to be a correct surmise. The 
Pak Army made frantic efforts to 
recapture lost areas in the period 
intervening up to the deadline for the 
Ceasefire. The most desperate of these 
attempts was an assault on village 
Alhar. This was repulsed with heavy 
casualties to the enemy. “ 46 This is 
precisely what happened. The enemy 
started preparing for a major counter 
offensive. Meanwhile, they incessantly mounted heavy artillery shelling followed by 
probing attacks by their infantry during 72 hours preceding the ceasefire. Unfettered 
control over the entire railway line was their aim and obsession; whereas defence of 
Alhar became a crucial and decisive obligation for us. On the Ceasefire night of 22/23 
September 1965, the credit of winning the artillery duel goes to Lt Col Rajeshwar Singh, 
CO 166 Field Regiment who sat next to me at the Brigade Command Post to seek support 
of every gun in the Corps Zone. He and his battery commanders did a marvellous job in 
precision targeting and counter-bombardment. 



37 


An equally pertinent performance was by the Signals. Cable was laid knitting 
vertical and lateral communications right down to company level. They managed to get 
hold of a medium power HF set and used it to monitor and jam Pak Para Brigade’s 
frequency. The observation post earlier established at Alhar was rejuvenated. Although 
under incessant artillery fire, it remained active and gave me minute to minute report 
regarding what was taking place on Pak side. 

That night we hogged the limelight. There were persistent calls from the Division 
HQ enquiring whether we continued to hold the Alhar Railway Station. “At 0330 hours 
on 23 rd September 1965, the last of the guns was fired and all became quiet on the 
Western Front. A strange silence enveloped the bloody battlefield where men were 
locked in a life and death struggle only a few minutes ago. The 18 hectic days of war 
were over.” 47 35 Infantry Brigade had won the battle of Alhar. The Infantry, supported by 
Artillery and Signals, had redeemed itself 

At 0500 hours on 23 rd September, Maj Vijay Venna rang me up to inform that a 
team of three Pak officers had come to the railway station skirting the concertina wire 
laid by us. They wanted to have a meeting with us. Lt Col Rajeshwar Singh and I decided 
to go and meet them. After shaking hands, I could sense a feel of defeated army in their 
demeanour. They perhaps belonged to 20 BALUCH, the unit which along with Pak 1 
Punjab of 14 Para Brigade had attempted to capture Alhar Railway Station. The attempt 
failed. Three bodies of Pak soldiers were carried in our presence. Later, estimates showed 
the number killed and wounded by own fire to be in the vicinity of fifty to sixty. . 

In the meeting with Pakistanis, the following decisions were taken: 

(a) Railway Line will be the Line of Control (LoC) 

(b) Each side will be allowed to lift their dead from areas in other’s occupation. 

As later dealings proved, while we performed fairly, they played deviously on 
either accord. We let them lift bodies with due decorum. In return we demanded that 
bodies of our shaheed at Chawinda and Jassoran be restored to us. They promised to refer 
this to formations that control the two places, but later rescinded. Abrar Hussain, 
roguishly, suggests that we sought “permission” to recover our dead from Jassoran area, 
where we seemed to have lost some senior officers, but “permission” could not be 
granted. Another glaring mischief is the map at Annexure 13 of their book The Men of 
Steel which shows their dispositions and audacity to include Alhar Railway Station in 
their possession. 

Alhar Railway Station became an attraction of visit, sight-seeing and show off by 
media, local bigwigs and senior civil and military officers. This rattled the enemy, 
psychologically. They invariably responded with fire. Not a day passed, when a visitor or 
a group of them did not appear and enemy did not open fire. One evening, a 
correspondent of a local daily flashed pointing camera at a lookout-man with binoculars 
perched on a tree. The enemy spotted him and fired a volley. Our jawan was hit and fell 



38 


down. He was rushed to the Pathankot Military Hospital. Mercifully, he was saved. The 
media group made beeline rearwards. That was the last I let any civilian come near the 
LoC. 



Photograph taken at Alhar Railway Station during 
visit of Maj Gen S K Korla sitting at centre, presumably 
flanked by CO 20 RAJPUT and ADMS 6 Mtn Div .The 
Author is standing fourth from the left 


39 


Chapter 7 

FLAG MEETINGS 

I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed 

— Mahatma Gandhi 

From Ceasefire to Implementation of Tashkent Agreement 

I was present at all the flag meetings with the Pakistanis — earlier, without the UN 
representative; later, in their attendance. The relevance of this narrative is as pertinent to 
today’s environment as it was then. LoC is in news again and controversies raised and 
debated ad nauseam. That, too, by media anchors, spokespersons, political and social 
bigwigs, who have never faced the enemy, known ABC of warfare, or worst — fathomed 
or felt agonies of those who the martyrs leave behind. 

I return to the post-Ceasefire events. The capture of Sialkot-Narowal Branch 
railway line was the acme of our victory, glorified by wide publicity conferred by the 
vernacular press amongst the local population — a matter of pride and praise for the 
anned forces. It was a thorn in the belly and it dealt a severe blow to the bellicosity by 
the enemy. How else could they explain to locals in Chawinda that they could not travel 
to Sialkot by train? The area that we had captured up to the railway line was a real-estate 
as compared to small infertile areas that Pakistanis had captured in the Valley, Rajasthan 
and Kutch and could brag about. So they made attempt after attempt to secure it, 
progressively becoming more provocative. A day after the Ceasefire, they brought a 
railway engine from Chawinda to shunt towards Alhar RS. A message to that effect was 
received from 5 JAK RIF. I told them to red-flag it right at the railway flag waving “hut” 
and not to allow it to proceed towards the station but under no circumstances fall in the 
trap of shooting the driver — a civilian. The engine driver chose to heed the warning. 

On the day the UN observers arrived, Pakistan Anny made a cunning move. They 
called for a flag meeting at Alhar RS. When CO 166 Field Regiment and I arrived at the 
station, a couple of Pak army officers were in conversation with company commander 
Maj Vijay Verma from 20 RAJPUT. They wanted us to let a train carrying civilians pass 
through on humanitarian grounds. The plea came with a bagful of sob stories of hardships 
of local villagers. We firmly declined and they dispersed. 

As we were leaving, Lt Col Rajeshwar Singh told me that there was something 
remiss; “Let’s follow the un-metal track alongside railway line.” A few yards away, his 
apprehensions came true. We were accosted by about a platoon worth of Pak soldiers, 
both sides of the railway track, in ready to fire positions. But none dared. Another 200 
yards or so, a pose of Pak officers were in heated argument with the Company 
Commander Maj Puran Chand about control of the Railway Line. The UN observer was 
present. We were unaware of his arrival and his appearance from the Pak side was a 
surprise. So was our emergence to the UN observer at his back — from the railway line. 



40 


Perceiving our jawan’s mood, I told the Pakistanis in chaste Punjabi to get back to the 
other side of the LoC, otherwise the shooting match restarts. I then told the U.N. observer 
in English what I had meant. He started walking back, Pakistanis followed. 

CO 166 Field Regiment and I decided to go further along the track to Wazirwali, 
but turned back after taking a few 
pictures. The track is parallel to the 
railway line. One was not sure how far 
the area between the track and the 
railway line was mined, and when was 
the minefield laid. The only prominent 
feature that I could see was the Railway 
Officers’ lodgings. The photograph 
shows not much of damage to the 
buildings. Presumably, this was one of 
the objectives, designated for 58 
Infantry Brigade. When we saw it, there 
was broad daylight, imagine troops’ 
charging at it at night, when they do not 
know where own troops are, let alone 
those of the enemy. 

The Third Violation of the Cease Fire 

The third violation of the LOC was the gravest and happened opposite Chak Dea Singh 
— almost at the same place as the second one. On that fateful day, I was rung up by Maj 
Suraj Singh officiating CO of 5 JAK RIF at five in the morning. After he informed me, 
his job was over and my responsibility started. The Brigade Commander was on a well- 
earned, seven-day leave and the three COs were casualties — one martyred and two 
wounded in action. There was none to report to, seek advice from, even discuss with; and 
no time to reflect. I rushed to the locale, was apprised of the situation. I could see the 
enemy shuffling about, getting ready for a show down. Our Jawans looked at me 
expectantly. Their morale went up when I told Maj Suraj Singh, “I am going forward 

through the minefield to create a lane with a view to 
subsequent breaching the minefield. I want three 
volunteers to go with me. ”Up went many hands. I picked 
that of Lt Ravinder Singh Samiyal and two jawans — a 
havildar and a lance naik. After deploying all the MMGs 
of the battalion well forward and directing them to shoot 
to kill, if enemy opened fire, we walked across the 
minefield in broad daylight, keeping appropriate distance. 
We avoided the mines, and laid a cable to mark the lane. 
As we reached the other end, I asked the jawan to pick out 
the picket of the parametric barbed wire and throw it on 
the ground. As he did that, we were encountered by a 
volley of bullets directed at us. All four of us were 




41 


standing upright at chandmari range, but Pakistani bullets, though grazed past, failed to 
strike. We all hit the ground. The two of us who were outside the minefield started 
crawling towards the railway signaling hut (See photograph above). The other two, who 
were amidst the minefield, also took lying positions avoiding the mines. 

The entire LoC from J&K to Khem Karan, maybe even beyond South, livened up 
with firing, which lasted for over twenty minutes. Then the white flags went up on either 
side, signaling that the UN observers had arrived. Still crawling on the way back, I asked 
Samiyal to defuse mines. I picked two anti ta nk mines; Samiyal four or five. That way the 
mine-breeching lane was created. Meanwhile, there were shouts that I was urgently 
wanted by the GOC. 

Out of the minefield, I first confronted the UN Observer. He fired a spate of 
questions, “what happened?”, “why did you not wait for me?”, “did you carry a white 
flag?”, and after inspecting the minefield. “What is this cable for?” I replied with a 
straight face, “Pakistanis laid this minefield last night. This is a violation of ceasefire and 
infringement of railway line being the LoC as decided at the flag meeting at Alhar 
Railway Station after two hours of cessation of hostilities. When you were not there, they 
dared not fire at us. I intended to have a talk with them to resolve the issue. And they 
opened fire. We retaliated. As to white flag, we do not have one. We, the unifonned, 
carry our regimental flag-posts to plant at the territory we conquer, not white flags of 
surrender and defeat. In any case I was waving this handkerchief.” I took out a white 
hankie and waved it. As to the cable laid across the minefield, my response was that we 
had a listening post at the Railway Signaling Hut and that is where this cable had been 
laid long time back. 

He was fully satisfied. The outcome was that the Pakistanis were censored for 
LoC violations. According to the UN observer, Pakistanis had suffered eight killed or 
wounded while we had no casualty. Over the next few nights the Engineers with the help 
of Samiyal and battalion personnel cleared a sizeable part of the minefield and lifted a 
sizable number of mines. Most important — crossing the enemy-laid minefield along 
with the only decorated Vir Chakra vijeta of the Brigade, 2/Lt Ravinder Singh Samiyal 
and two other ranks (ORs) of 5 JAK RIF, crawling under intense fire at close range, had 
raised the morale of the unit and the four of us earned accolades and delight of the 
battalion’s officers and men. 

A couple of days later, GOC Maj Gen Korla decided to visit 5 JAK RIF. In the 
absence of the Brigade Commander, I met him at the Check Post. After shaking hands 
with me, he said, “I was very annoyed at your leaving the Brigade HQ.” Then he put his 
hand on my shoulder and added, “Well done my boy! You showed tremendous daring. I 
am proud of you. I believe they suffered eight casualties. Did they?” I nodded and he 
responded, “That would teach them a lesson." When we reached the Battalion HQ at 
Chak Dea Singh, the GOC was taken to a place where a booty of Pak mines was 
displayed These were a labour of breaching the minefield by the battalion in 
collaboration and under expert guidance of the divisional Sappers. The GOC was highly 



42 


impressed. Days later when the count was taken, there were 260 mines or near about 
number. 

There is a sad follow up of this episode too. I was on leave when a similar 

incident of crossing the minefield happened. In my 
absence as Brigade Patrol Master, eething to prove 
himself, Maj Puran Singh took the initiative and crossed 
the gap in the minefield at night along with two jawans 
for reconnaissance. Unfortunately for him, the enemy 
was waiting with an LMG precisely at the aforesaid 
Railway Signaling hut and opened fire. He was killed by 
the first burst. The two jawans ran southward and 
returned safe after crossing two sets of mines, one laid by 
the enemy and the other by us. The entire LoC went 
turbulent. In the eyes of psychoanalysis experts Puran’ s 
act may appear as foolhardy and petulant, but bravery is 
qurbani (sacrifice), it is unique and can neither be 
qualified, nor emulated. 

First Formal Flag Meeting 

There were three formal flag meetings interspersed with numerous informal visits by the 
UN representatives for investigations of 
complaints mostly filed by the 
Pakistanis. The first formal meeting took 
place at Butur Dograndi, the locale of 
the fiercest tank battle after world War II 
and where Col Tarapore received Veer 
Gati. It was our proposed FUP for attack 
on Chawinda, but had to be abandoned 
midway by the assaulting battalions 
because of massive shelling by the 
Pakistanis. The devastation wrought by 
them is noticeable in the background in 
the photograph. This photograph was 
taken by an officer of the Pak delegation 
and a copy with their signatures at the 
back of the photograph was presented to 
me at the second flag meeting. While 
only two of us, the officiating stop-gap 
CO of 6 MARATHA LI and I 
represented India, theirs was a powerful 
lot headed by Colonel General Staff (Col 
GS) 15 Division and included a Major 
from Rangers and presumably an officer 
from Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and Pak 24 Brigade. The points were a mere 


First Formal Flag Meeting 






(sx~? 


Held at Buttur Dograndy 

Sitting centre UN Observer, second from left 
Author- BM 35 Inf Bde, Second from Right, Col 
GS Pak 15 Div, first from right, newly appointed 
officiating CO 6 MARATHA LI 



43 


reiteration of Ceasefire Agreement’s non-violation, I wrote the minutes as mutually 
decided in non contentious language. 

PAK Allegation about Burning of Mosques 

One day the UN observer came with a complaint that Indians were burning mosques. I 
took him to the Commander and in his presence requested the UN representative to come 
next day at five in the evening. Then I guided him to see the mosque at Manga. He 
witnessed not a scratch on it. I gave him a copy of the photograph of mosque at Sabzpir 
(See insert). He was impressed. Next day he came dot at five I 
took him around to see the parameter defences of the brigade 
HQ, Five thirty was the time for evening stand to. My 
instructions were that before getting into trenches everyone 
should say a Prayer, or do Sajda, render Ardas or Cross the 
heart according to their religion and belief before getting into 
the trench. The U.N. Representative saw a number of Defence 
Platoon boys kneeling and bowing towards the West. 

Bewildered as he was, he asked me, “Are they Muslims?” I 
chuckled, “Of course, they are not bowing to Pakistan. Ours is 
a secular country with secular Army. Every religious place is 
sacred to us.” 

Second Formal Flag Meeting 

The Second Formal Meeting took place at Alhar Railway Station. It was hosted by us. 

The Pakistanis came in good strength, same as in the 
First Formal Flag Meeting. On the Indian side, the two 
of us, officiating CO of 6 MARATHA FI and I 
represented the Indian side. When the minutes of the 
first meeting were read by me, the Pakistanis raised an 
issue of rancour — presumably, the delegation was so 
instructed by their superiors. They objected to 
International Border being called “International 
Border” and wanted it to be changed to “Border” which 
I declined. Their plea was UN Resolutions that 
accepted the controversial nature of accession of J&K; 
my argument was based on Redcliff Award, bizarre as 
it was, yet, the very basis of creation and reality of 
Pakistan, and its acceptance internationally. The 
discussion was switching from matters military to 
political, which we regretted. A compromise was to 
specify what we call “International Border” and 
Pakistanis refer as “Border”. The minutes were so 
worded. 



Photograph taken by the author 


at Alhar Railway Station 

Left to right: UN Representative, 
Pak Col GS 15 Div, Offg CO 6 
MARATHA LI, Officers from ISI 
and Rangers 






44 


Third Flag Meeting 

The third Flag Meeting was held again at Alhar post Tashkent. The Brigade had 
withdrawn from the Pak territory, which we had won and occupied, to our side of the 
International Border. A team from Delhi had come to arrange return of Pak land. I was 
detailed to represent 1 Corps because of presence at the earlier meetings and knowledge 
of the contentious issues. At the third meeting the only matter of concern to us was return 
of the 260 odd mines that we had lifted by breaching the minefield that was laid by 
Pakistanis. At the meeting, I leamt that any minefield, which either side had positioned, 
was to be cleared by that very side. The Pakistanis were in trouble as they couldn’t 
account for the mines, which were in our possession. The very code of laying a minefield 
is the ability and knack to guard it — for contravention of which the Pak unit opposite 5 
JAK RIF was taken to task. I was in no mood to help them as these mines were laid in 
infringement of the ceasefire and we couldn’t surrender the booty, which is a paltry 
avenge of the sacrifice of Maj Puran Chand. It was my view that these mines should be 
analysed by our R&D and placed in museums of regimental centres for posterity’s pride 
and remembrance. 

I left having conveyed feelings and expressed views of all ranks of the Brigade. 
But later I learnt that orders came to comply and 5 JAK RIF returned the entire lot of 
mines. 



45 


Chapter 8 

ANALYSIS AND LESSONS LEARNT 

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice. 
— Mark Twain, Following the Equator 


Subjective Military History 

In India the official military history suffers from knowledge inconsistency and biased 
slant of the writers. As an applied field the pursuit of contemporary military history has 
two aims vis. an investigative research at the military academies, colleges and schools; 
and a subject of study at promotion and competitive examinations with a view to 
preparing future commanders and staff officers by instilling in them the ability to 
perceive historical parallels and learn lessons from the past. Part of military history is 
also regimental history that glorifies the deeds of valour, camaraderie, leadership, and 
exceptional display of tactical and technical acumen in the face of odds and adversaries. 

As an agenda of international studies, there is a tendency to treat military history as 
an aberration of political and economic development processes of a state, therefore of 
trivial consequence and significance. Even the value system of soldiering is pooh- 
poohed. The military history, as discipline for the development of strategy, tactics, and 
technology, is marginalised. It is often treated as a device for aggrandisement of powers 
that be — in our case, a device for mouthing the precept “jai jawan, jai kisan, . ” yet, 
taking for granted, often leading to disparagement of either or both. The conceptual 
scrutiny is over and over sacrificed at the altar of “intelligence clearance” — a ploy of 
killing impartial views and equitable writings 

The official history of 1965 Indo-Pak war, error hyped, bureaucratic tainted and 
unscrutinised as it is, should be put through a sieve of analytical processing to sift the 
grain of objectivity from the murky chaff of subjectivity. History that demoralises young 
officers and jawans fancies the "jus ad bellum ” i.e., the “just war doctrine” and the over- 
played aphorism of Alfred Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade — “Theirs is not 
to question why, Theirs is to do and die” are not only an embarrassment to taking out-of- 
box initiative, but also an encouragement to the enemy bereft of scruples whatsoever. 
Marked “Restricted” as it is on the Web, the foresaid history describes the performance 
of Armed Forces of India, bracketing it with that of Pakistan, as “poor”. It states that our 
“armour advanced at infantry pace” not knowing that armour without infantry cannot 
hold ground and is a sitting duck at night. We neither had night vision devices nor 
mechanised infantry in 1965. 

How statements are made and detracted, how coloured opinions of historians are 
prompted, sources connived, and how so-called historical accounts, designed on 
falsehood, are made public to the entire world, is immaterial, the loss is always that of 



46 


honour of our country, and morale of the men in uniform, for whom the bell tolls. We 
called 1965 War a stalemate — a drawn match — while Pakistanis celebrate it as victory. 
So Kargil ensued. Even today, Pakistanis play mischievously crafted make-believe card 
of one to ten ratio disparity — legitimising the credo of Mujahideen and insiders with a 
view to propping up recrudescence of violence across the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K. 
Witness Pak flags in the Valley. 

Command and Control 

Unity of command is a principle of war in the case of the US, though not in India and 
other Commonwealth countries. It requires a single commander with the requisite 
authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose. Military operations are joint 
enterprises involving co-operation between Defence Services i.e. in the instant case Army 
and Air Force and all arms within the Anny. It entails the co-ordination of all activities to 
achieve the optimum combined effort. Ideally one commander should be made 
responsible for the conduct of operations, but that may not be practicable, organised as 
we are to-day. 

India is the only major power in the world where the civilian Defence Secretary 
and not the military leadership is legally and constitutionally responsible for the country’s 
defence. So, civil-military relations, instead of being between the political and military 
entities, have been relegated to between the powerful civilian bureaucracy and the 
responsibility laden military. The bureaucracy has authority, but no accountability; 
whereas the military has absolute responsibility but carry no clout. 

In the battlefield under discussion, operations suffered from off-the-cuff, scrappy 
and knee-jerk decision-making at the Corps level. Its impact infested right down the 
ranking ladder of the tactical level. Orally conveyed orders and so-called instructions, 
were altered frequently — almost daily, before they could be complied with. They ranged 
from terse, banal and absurd to sheer impracticable in implementation. The paradigm is 
reflected in the accounts of history writers at the Defence Ministry, who posed as 
crusaders of righteousness, playing referees. Witness the expressions, “unfortunate”, 
“misunderstanding”, and “bias” — surely not communicated by the Divine, but an 
ominous mark of poor command and indifferent control. During the operations the Corps 
showed a nadir of dysfunction and lack of coordination, which reflected in adverse 
command, control, communications and intelligence. 

Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh writes, “The campaign illustrates a classic command 
failure at Corps level. Command and control functions were consistently sluggish and 
during a critical stage in the offensive, when we were battling for the vital Chawinda - 
Badiana - Zafarwal Area, virtually ineffective.” 48 

Communications 

The state of communications, throughout the operations, was under tremendous strain at 
its best, and perceptibly abysmal at its worst. This, by no stretch of imagination, it was 



47 


because of the Corps of Signals, but an adnominal result of frequent personality-oriented 
decision-making, ill-planned grouping and regrouping, and recurrent violation of chain of 
command. It was further aggravated by taking Signals for granted, wastage of 
communication resources in 14 Infantry Division Sector, whereas unacceptability of 
infantry brigades by the staff of Armoured Division as outstations on the voice command 
net on the plea of cluttering. There was absence of lateral communications leading to 
disinfonnation about location of own troops, which led to tragedies like 14 RAJPUT of 
58 Infantry Brigade barging into own position at Wazirwali held by a company of 5 JAT 
and 2 LANCERS. 

There was a perceptible chaos and total disorder due to the frequently changed 
decisions and their non-transmission through staff channels right from Corps level, what 
to talk of down the chain. This played havoc in violation of the acceptable norms and 
teaching about passing orders and intelligence, be they classified or unclassified. 
Situational awareness, information sharing and data exchange amongst tactical force are 
the acme of command and control. Today, we refer to them as infonnation warfare, 
network-centric warfare, cyber warfare, cognitive warfare, data warfare, and many 
similar ilk, each hinging on peer-to-peer (P2P) communications, and power to the edges. 
The factorial considerations of these are operational mobility, terrain, media resources 
and network characteristics. To facilitate interaction and interoperability at different 
tactical levels, suitable adaptation at application level and network configurations need to 
be considered for deployment depending on the operational environment and resources 
available. While current research and investigative work focus primarily on routing and 
transport protocol as well as wideband radio waveforms, there is still scope for a mobile 
ad-hoc network over legacy radio network. This is because our armed forces still have a 
sizeable number of narrowband radios operating at Very High Frequency (VHF) or Ultra 
High Frequency (UHF) in operational use. 

Operating with armoured and mountain division we in the infantry brigade had 
little commonality of wireless sets, which was the single most important means of 
communications. At corps, division and brigade level, high frequency (HF) wireless was 
in use. Forward of battalion, VHF sets were authorised. The wireless sets in the HF range 
were medium power sets SCR 399 and RS 53, both of World War II vintage. Wireless 
sets Cl 1/R210 and 62 were the low power sets in use. Mountain divisions were equipped 
with the AN/GRC 9, and VHF sets AN/PRC 25 and AN/PRC 10. The VHF set C42 was 
in use in some armoured units, whereas, vintage radio sets 31 and 88 were authorized to 
our infantry battalions. Generally, the wireless equipment was dated, bulky and heavy. 
We went to war with this motley of mutually uncompetitive holdings. Wireless 
communications lacked security, cable lines were trampled upon by tanks, own or enemy, 
more often the former. So only means of communication was verbal and scribbled notes 
sent through DRs and LOs. 

Intelligence 

In April 2015 an article was published by V Balachandran in the Times of India 
insinuating that “Intelligence Bureau (IB) played junior partner to MI5 well after 1947.” 



48 


The subtle rub of this Article was that before 1947, IB was controlled by MI5, 
Britain's domestic intelligence service and a department called "Indian Political 
Intelligence (IPI)”, run by India Office, Scotland Yard and India govermnent. — After 
1947, this MI5-IB liaison continued. An unwritten agreement during the transfer of 
power in 1947 was the secret positioning of a security liaison officer (SLO) in New Delhi 
as MI5's representative. Normally, any intelligence liaison with an independent country 
should've been maintained by Britain's foreign intelligence service — MI6. But MI5 
resisted such attempts till 1971 . 

Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh writes in the Lessons Learnt, “Intelligence about the 
enemy’s activities and intentions often proved to be inaccurate and misleading. There 
was no concrete evidence of the impending massive infiltration campaign even on the eve 
of Pak aggression.” 49 Having said that he becomes somewhat apathetic even apologetic 
and writes, “While making these comments it is not my intention to undermine the 
standing and prestige of the IB for, I am sure, the organisation fell short of expectations 
not for want of effort but on account of inherent weaknesses in the set-up. My aim in 
highlighting the lapses is to focus attention on this organisation so that its basic structure 
could be re-examined and overhauled for a more efficient functioning. The IB, as we 
know, is our main agency for keeping our finger on the pulse of a belligerent neighbour 
during peace. In war, it is an invaluable source of information for planning in the field. A 
streamlined IB is a vital national requirement" 50 

Of equal, if not greater significance than the strategic intelligence, is the tactical 
intelligence, the conveyance of which, both down and up the chain, was pathetic. I did 
not receive a single SITREP from any divisional HQ. On the contrary, I regularly 
received situation reports (SITREP) from the two battalions that were under-command, 
meticulously compiled them, and sent Brigade SITREP, both, up and down the chain. 
Regrettably, no body, other than the battalions, read them. In Chapter 

Although Intelligence about the enemy’s intention and capability is never fool- 
proof in any war; in the war with Pakistan it proved to be extremely wanting. Further, 
what was available was not passed down the chain. After the regular campaign had 
commenced, the IB virtually shut down as intelligence supplier. General Harbaksh Singh 
writes, “During the war, as sources of the IB dried up, the most important source of 
information on the enemy was air photography. But this was centralised at Army HQ and 
Air HQ. This caused unnecessary delays in its availability at the lower levels. The 
developed copies of air photographs mostly arrived too late to be of any tactical use. A 
definite need was felt of decentralising the facilities for air photo cover.” 51 Undoubtedly, 
his observations have merit, but there are other sources like reconnaissance patrols, 
interrogations of prisoners of war, tactical signal intelligence and analysis of captured 
documents, letters, newspapers, cap badges and formation signs, which yield valuable 
and helpful intelligence. These sources were woefully neglected. Wherever and whenever 
patchily exploited, these were hoarded — neither shared with other divisions, nor passed 
down the chain. For instance formation signs that we captured at Gadgor, as shown in 
Appendix “H”, were analysed after the war. It shows Pak 7 Division Sign, which as a 
formation was never deployed in Sialkot Sector. The formation sign either belonged to an 
officer of 22 Cavalry or 1 (SP) Field Regiment, the units that were hurriedly switched 


49 


from Chhamb. The formation signs of Pak 1 Armoured Division and 8 Division were 
never captured. Their presence could have been easily discerned, if we had trained 
tactical signal intelligence unit on our Corps ORBAT. 

Know Thy Enemy and Thyself Too 

Sun Tzu said, “Therefore, regarding forces, by perceiving the enemy and perceiving 
ourselves, there will be no unforeseen risk in any battle.” He further elaborated, “It is the 
rule in war, if ten times the enemy's strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if 
double, be able to divide them; if equal, engage them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if 
weaker, be able to avoid them.” " Pity no one paid any attention to this adage. Our higher 
headquarters did not know where our own troops were, what to talk of enemy. 

I suggest the readers to have a re-look at the table of Relative Strength in Appendix 
“D” on what the two assaulting battalions of ours were made to face in the battle of 
Chawinda. Yet we engaged the enemy 3 FF and made them turn their back and run for 
hell. If that is not gallantry, what else is! 

Limited Objectives; Unlimited Measures 

The greatest tragedy that we faced in Sialkot Sector war zone was absence of a viable 
Corps Plan based on the prudent principle of war enunciated by Qiao Liang and Wang 
Xiangsui, in Unrestricted Warfare vis., “limited objectives in relation to measures 
available that ought to be unlimited.” When setting the objectives, no appreciation was 
carried out and no consideration given to feasibility of accomplishing them. Right from 
the word go, objectives were sought and chased in utter disregard of the available fire 
power, inter and intra communication facilities, which were heavily constrained both in 
terms of relative strength and time and space. If the principle had been prudently 
followed, after accomplishing one objective, there would have been ample resources and 
resilience to pursue the next — and the next. When setting objectives, one must 
overcome the urge and proclivity for Napoleonic successes. No matter whatever be the 
reason, setting objectives, which exceed available measures, lead to disastrous 
consequences — failure on the verge of success. This is, precisely, what happened. 

All Arms Synchrony and Harmony 

I quote General George S. Patton, “If the band played a piece first with the piccolo then 
with the brass hom, then with the clarinet, and then with the trumpet, there would be a 
hell of a lot of noise but no music. To get harmony in the music, each instrument must 
support the others, to get harmony in battle; each weapon (read ann) must support the 
others. Team play wins.” 54 In Operation Nepal, there was no synchrony, there was no 
hannony. We first attacked Chawinda with annour, then with infantry, intennittently 
employing artillery of which we were a brigade short. There was no coordination with the 
Air Force; Engineers whose potential of holding ground when not employed on laying or 
breaching minefields was never exploited — less said about the adequacy and efficacy of 
staff duties, communications and logistic support. 



50 


Flouting ORBAT of divisions and brigades frequently, on the specious plea, of 
grouping and regrouping of non-integral brigades and battalions, is highly reprehensible. 
It undennines the dedicated fire support, staff duties and obligations, and the chain of 
command, which Signals follow. We, in 35 Infantry Brigade, were consistently and 
uncaringly deprived of third battalion leading to error of each other's capabilities and 
limitations in holdings of weapons and radio equipment. Throughout the duration of 
active operations 14 Infantry Division had only one brigade under command that too less 
one battalion at one stage. It was still called a division. 6 Mountain Division, too, had 
shed 99 Mountain Brigade to I Armoured Division. Going by the official history, I 
Armoured Division had the unique distinction of boasting an armoured, and a lorried 
brigade of its own with two infantry brigades and a mountain brigade under its command. 
Over burdened as the division was, none of the borrowed brigades were privy to 
dedicated fire support, assault engineer support or viable communication support — let 
alone air support or logistic support. 

If one goes by the Official History and account of Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh we were 
at Arnia on 8 September under command 6 Mountain Division; at Sabzpir on 1 1 
September, under command 1 Armoured Division; on 12 September at Subzpir under 
command 6 Mountain Division; on 14 September assigned to capture Chawinda as per 1 
Armoured Brigade Operation Order; on 15 September shoved back to Charwa under I 
Armoured Division, on 16 September at Gadgor under 6 Mountain Division, on 17 
September at Phillora under 1 Armoured Division, then back at Gadgor under 6 Mountain 
Division; on 18 September slated to attack at Chawinda and Jassoran; and the sardonic of 
all, is that on 20 September we were sent to Changarian to lick our wounds, a place I had 
never known and even today cannot locate on the map. All this is not a wee bit true — 
firstly location wise, we were at Sabzpir and Manga as shown in map at Appendix B, 
secondly command wise, we were under command HQ 1 Annoured Division from 8-11 
September and HQ 6 Mountain Division from 12 September till just before Tashkent 
Agreement;, thirdly, most important, our self-assigned missions were to capture Chobara 
on 8 September, assist in securing Gadgor on night 10/11 September, and hold ground at 
the strategic location of Alhar Railway Station against all attacks from 12 September till 
Ceasefire, and all postwar violations by Pakistan to recapture it. 

It is ironical that while Pakistan was beset more in intra feuds borne of personality 
chauvinism, ours was no less. Where they substantially scored over us was progressive 
organisational assets like Army Aviation, mechanised infantry, Para brigade, tactical 
signal intelligence and their deployment right where the action was at the battlefield. 
There was greater hannony amongst them reflected in after-battle admiration of their 
performance by the hierarchy. The Men of Steel is full of praise for performance of 
Electronic Warfare, Artillery, Army Aviation; and Close Air Support and Logistics. We, 
on the other hand are somewhat circumspect and critical. 

Our writers talk of expressions like “loss of opportunity”, “unfortunately” and 
“misunderstanding” — unbecoming to military parlance. Contrarily not a word is said 
about the price we paid in lives, professional pride and morale. It was an all arms battle 
that should have been fought on the night of 14/15 September when the enemy was bereft 



51 


of boost-up troops from Pak 1 Armoured Division from Lahore Sector and Pak 8 
Division from Chhamb Sector. There ought to have been full involvement of the Corps 
HQ with the support of the Air Force and pursuance of the worthy Chinese adage from 
Unrestricted Warfare “limited objectives and unlimited means.” Here we planned for 
capturing three boundless objectives Chawinda, Badiana and Zafarwal, whereas we could 
muster paltry fire power, assault engineers and communications to take on even one of 
them. 

Tactical Signal Intelligence 

Signal intelligence, or better call it by its subset, communication intelligence, involves 
covert interception of hostile voice, telegraph and data systems. It is a highly lucrative 
source of intelligence, which has been promoted by almost every technologically 
advanced nation — drastically, adopted by terrorist and militant groups, too. It is distinct 
from electronic warfare. Whereas interception and direction finding are common, both, to 
the electronic warfare and signal intelligence; in the case of the former, it is merely a 
support function 55 

For electronic warfare support, the receivers and direction finders after acquiring 
the target, pass on the target for kill, deception or discard, while they move on in search 
of other preys. While, in the case of the signal intelligence, they dwell, lock on and 
persist for content lucidity or spectrum intelligence till it is rewarding. A receiver 
obviously cannot do both the jobs, i.e. roam and dwell simultaneously. Further, whereas a 
“system combining interception, direction finding and jamming is valid for the electronic 
warfare, the merit of tactical signal intelligence lies in discrete receivers. 56 

Very high and ultra high frequency communications are difficult to intercept, as the 
receiver too has to be in the line-of-sight. If surreptitiously done by getting closer to the 
target, the pay-offs are indeed high, and the source lucrative. Tactical signal intelligence, 
as the name implies, is for the tactical commander. He alone is competent to task the 
effort and after it is gathered, he alone is competent to authenticate its source, validate its 
content and evaluate its effect on his mission and plans. This cannot be done at the higher 
echelons of hierarchy. High rewards can be reaped from tactical signal intelligence if data 
is properly collected, analysed and logged. In 1965, whereas Pakistan employed an 
electronic warfare unit, we managed local resources that too only in 1 Armoured Division 
Signal Regiment. The effort was random and of nuisance value only. 

Mobilisation 

In order to keep surprise at strategic level we totally ignored mobilisation at tactical level. 
We were rushed into battle. Units were one third their strength, Officers and men were 
not recalled from leave, courses of instruction, temporary duties and store collection 
parties. After the operations, As units moved out from peace stations they carried a mass 
of unnecessary stores. I made a voluminous set of instructions called “Mobilisation 
Scheme” and carried out a drill every month. 



52 


Air Chief Marshal Lai writes, “In 1965, the higher defence organisation was 
functioning and the Chiefs of Staff Committee met regularly under the chairmanship of 
General Chaudhuri. Officers In positions of authority had read and studied, and taught the 
procedures for inter-service cooperation. It was not realised, however, that even when the 
general drill is known, each particular task still requires a great deal of preparatory work, 
that the persons taking part need to be trained for it, that supporting facilities have to be 
arranged for in advance, and this has to be done for every contingency that can be 
envisaged. Flexibility in battle is gained only through long and arduous preparation.” 

Warfare in Built-up Area 

The most fundamental lesson learned from battle of Chawinda is that warfare in towns, 
with close streets of built-up areas is a high value target best tackled by a fully integrated 
combined-arms team. There is no denying the value of infantry, armour, and anti-annour 
forces during urban combat. Urban operations should never be considered a purely 
infantry errand and initiation response. This is precisely what happened at Chawinda. 
Both the battalions 5 JAK RIF and 6 MARATHA LI suffered from critical limitations 
that could have been thought of at Corps level and overcome by proper grouping. They 
needed appropriately tasked organisational capability to achieve a combined-arms effect. 
These forces needed to be supported by closely integrated indirect fire support, 
communications, and logistical prop up across the spectrum of operations. In urban 
areas, the combined-arms teams produce the best results. The Israel’s operations in Gaza 
Strip are a case in point. 

Tactical Handling 

Armour having swarmed moves on, it is the lot of the steadfast and resolute infantry to 
trounce the enemy and to hold and secure the ground against a counter-attack. The 
Infantry soldiers fight during the hours of darkness, and on capturing ground, dig and dig 
hard to protect themselves. In 1965, tanks on our side were night blind and totally 
dependent on the infantry. We neither had night vision devices nor mechanised infantry 
vehicles. The Official History wisely states, “The bulk of both armies consisted of 
infantry formations. However, compared to Pak infantry, Indian infantry was deployed 
more extensively, and in some cases their defensive positions slowed down Pak armour 
drives, inflicting considerable losses.” 59 

The Official History’s naivete on tactical deployment is classic - sample this one on 
linearity vs. depth, “Following old British patterns, both the armies were deployed with 
two companies up in front and two in reserve; two battalions up in front, and one in 
reserve; and two brigades up in front and one in reserve, thus rendering the bulk of a 
Division, i.e. 28 reserve rifle companies, idle, while only 8 rifle companies had to bear 
the brunt of the enemy’s attacks.” 60 This reflection is a bizarre one — an arithmetic gauge 
is never a tactical approach. Every military situation is unique. That is why we are 
rigorously taught to carry out an appreciation of situation — mental on the spur, written if 
time pennits and put it for peer review. 



53 


Artillery Fire Support 

In Chapter on Pakistan Tactical Concept Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh writes that artillery was 
Pakistan’s most decisive weapon; that it was extensively used with devastating effect; 
that Pakistan had prepared the gun areas in elaborate detail, during peacetime; and that 
not only had survey been done, but target records from various gun positions had been 
prepared and kept ready for prompt engagements. 61 He further observes that they placed 
greater reliance on moving to alternate positions to escape counter-bombardment or air 
action. Very often, for harassing roles, guns and mortars were invariably deployed in 
temporary gun positions. “ More casualties were caused by artillery and air attack than in 
actual tank to tank battles. 

Undoubtedly, Pakistan artillery was substantially superior to ours, both, in quality 
and quantity by virtue of imported American guns and presence of highly advanced 4 
Corps Artillery Brigade. We were short of an Artillery Brigade on the ORBAT of 12 
Division. What was earlier termed as 1 Corps Artillery Brigade of two field and one 
medium regiment, was shown as part of 14 Infantry Division post hostilities. These 
handicaps notwithstanding, the gunners’ feat was admirable. I do not know how they 
resolved the problem of direct support, but all the three battalions of our brigade were full 
of praise of the affiliated battery commanders during the crucial battles of Chawinda and 
Alhar. 

Para Military Forces 

That Indian para-military forces stood their ground well in Kutch, Punjab, Rajasthan, and 
Jammu and Kashmir, and provided worthwhile support to the regular forces maybe true 
of these areas, but in our battle zone, these forces were no where visible. If they had taken 
over the defence of Madhopur Bridge, we would not have missed opportunities and the 
state of readiness for active combat would not have been affected adversely. War is far 
from a middle-of-the-road venture. There are many who exploit it to vicious ends, 
whereas for a soldier it is a spin off between life and death. 

Collective Training 

Since its inception, 35 Infantry Brigade had never been trained as an integrated formation 
per se, what to talk of being collectively exercised as part of a division or a corps. When I 
joined the Brigade HQ, we were in the mountains under an Area HQ. Although a field 
area, the only tactical activity was monthly long-range patrol right up to the China border. 
I accompanied one — not as a leader, but just to get the feel of the ground, and hang of 
what an infantryman goes through. It was tough, indeed very tough — .nonetheless, a 
rewarding experience in companionship and soldiering. 

The very concept of collective training is to create and cultivate team spirit, 
camaraderie, an understanding of operational capability of arms and logistic services 
other than ones own, an innovative and responsive milieu between the three Defence 



54 


Services to overcome critical situations. It aims to promote leadership, intelligence- 
nurtured "war rooms"; and encourages informal relationships that crisscross 
organisational boundaries. This is what we achieved in Exercise Betwa after the 1965 
War and extensive preparatory training as a run-up to it. Regrettably, the hierarchy in the 
brigade and its battalions had changed. I portrayed the only continuity ever since the pre 
war days. 

Morale and Motivation 

Notwithstanding the admirable resilience and tenacity of the Indian soldier, who is ever 
inspired by the triumvirate of naam, namak and nishaan (loosely transliterated as honour, 
loyalty and integrity), it is the respect, recognition and reward (loosely transliterated in 
Urdu as Izzat, Iqbal aur Inarri) that he longs for, fights for and voluntarily gives his life 
for. There were innumerable instances of valour and pluck, which I am privy to and 
which even the enemy recognises though deplorably. Many citations were sent, but not a 
single one honoured — justice was not done to our Brigade. 

In Indian history after Independence ours has never, emphatically never, been a 
profession of peace-time soldiering. Bharat Mata has been losing her bravest sons during 
wars after wars, crises after crises, both internal and external. It hurts when a leader says 
that we are denied respect because we did not fight a war for forty to fifty years. Our 
soldiers have been in Operation Paw an in Sri Lanka, in Operation Vijay in Kargil, 
serving in inhospitable Siachin, a series of operations in the North-east, at LoC in J&K 
and Line of Actual Control (LAC) against China, and on peace-keeping missions abroad. 
They are battle-hardy not battle-weary and they are much more than a fighting outfit — 
they represent an organisation of highly spirited and vibrant citizenry endowed with 
unity, discipline and oomph. It is probably the only organisation that has continued to 
utilise its capacities to achieve professional objectives, resisting all attempts to 
compromise its ideals or to deliver below its potential. 

Concluding Thoughts 

I quote Pamela Bhagat, wife of a highly distinguished and decorated General, from a 
piece entitled Brand Equity of War, “Dying in action is a fact of life for our men in 
uniform. As the last post is sounded for yet another military funeral, we can't help but 
marvel at the brand equity of war.” This was aftennath of Operation Vijay. Alas! In 
Operation Nepal no bugle was sounded for martyrs of 35 Infantry Brigade, as for many 
other jawans of other fonnations. None remembers their qurbani, no tears were shed 
(zara aankh mein bhar lo paani ). No shaheed in his shahadat is venerated even today. He 
is just a political trademark, an electoral word of empty promises, and brand equity of 
war. 


Service in the Anned Lorces is not merely a job; its a way of life, an all 
encompassing commitment to oneself, to family, to fellow compatriots in arms, to 
Nation, even humanity at large It upholds the will to “keep up” and “carry on” even when 
the going is rough and tough during combat. At Chawinda and Jassoran, the Brigade 
faced enemy superior in numbers and firepower; the casualties were heavy; but there 



55 


were no let downs. The fighting spirit did not wane even under pressure, tension and 
uncertainties. We proved it at the final battle of Alhar. 

This then is The Saga of Grit and Courage that I have the privilege to write about. 
This is our culture; this is our heritage; this is our victory. Let us not forget that 
Deepawali comes after Dussehra and Eid comes after Ramzan. 



56 


Appendix “A” 

Martyrs OF INFANTRY BATTALIONS OF 
35 INFANTRY BRIGADE 


“Jadon Dullda Khoon Shaheedan da, Taqdeer Badaldi Quoman Di” 


(A Punjabi saying: “When martyrs’ blood is spilled, destiny of nations is transformed) 

Quoted by Maj Gen Satbir Singh, 

Chairman Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) 


20 RAJPUT 


1 . 

IC-3088 

Maj JC Verma 

19 Sep 65 

2. 

2942858 

Hav Sunder Singh 

16 Sep 65 

3. 

291594 

Nk Beek Singh 

17 Sep 65 

4. 

2943777 

Nk Har Bilash 

21 Sep 65 

5. 

2944864 

L/Nk Matapher Singh 

16 Sep 65 

6. 

2944963 

Nk Lalloo Singh 

22 Sep 65 

7. 

2947905 

Nk Malkhan Singh 

15 Sep 65 

8. 

2950172 

Sep Dhan Singh 

08 Sep 65 

9. 

2952382 

Sep Bhanwar Singh 

18 Sep 65 

10. 

2954693 

Sep Chukhe Singh 

15 Sep 65 

11. 

2954995 

Sep Gokal 

15 Sep 65 

12. 

2955160 

Sep Nar Singh 

05 Sep 65 

13. 

2955447 

Sep Gokal Ram 

15 Sep 65 

14. 

2955878 

Sep Ram Swaroop 

16 Sep 65 

15. 

2956042 

Sep Hemraj Singh 

15 Sep 65 

16. 

2956044 

Sep Soba Ran Singh 

15 Sep 65 

17. 

2956813 

Sep Rameshwer Singh 

15 Sep 65 

18. 

1360171 

Sep Bal Singh 

19 Sep 65 

19. 

1360178 

Sep Kanhiya Lai 

21 Sep 65 

20. 

JC 27559 

Nb Sub Arjun Singh 

08 Sep 65 


6 MARATHA Light Infantry 


1 . 

1C 2644 

Lt Col AM Manohar, CO 

19 Sep 65 

2. 

EC 56547 

2Lt LK Nadgir, 10 

19 Sep 65 

3. 

2748015 

Sep Shivraj Patil 

13 Sep 65 

4. 

2747662 

Sep Krishna Sawant 

10 Sep 65 

5. 

2749263 

Sep Mahadeo Samar 

10 Sep 65 

6. 

2749259 

Sep Bhimanna Sutar 

10 Sep 65 

7. 

4142607 

L/Hav Bhimrao Patil 

10 Sep 65 



57 


8. 

2763283 

Sep Dattatraya Kadam 

1 1 Sep 65 

9. 

2749033 

Sep/EBR Maruti Kamble 

1 1 Sep 65 

10. 

2746050 

L/Nk Shivaji Bhonsle 

13 Sep 65 

11. 

2747021 

Sep Eknath Shelke 

13 Sep 65 

12. 

2747243 

Sep Abhinav Powar 

13 Sep 65 

13. 

2747491 

Sep Mahadeo Salunke 

13 Sep 65 

14. 

4144621 

Sep Ramdas Gogawale 

17 Sep 65 

15. 

2740698 

Nk Sambhaji Shinde 

19 Sep 65 

16. 

2743095 

LNk Bhagwan Gaikwad 

19 Sep 65 

17. 

2744348 

Nk Vishwanath Gangaputra 

19 Sep 65 

18. 

2747174 

Sep Bhimrao Mhapre 

19 Sep 65 

19. 

4145546 

LNk Shankar Erande 

19 Sep 65 

20. 

2747461 

Sep Bhagwan Powar 

19 Sep 65 

21. 

4142681 

SepTukaram Powar 

19 Sep 65 

22. 

2748885 

Sep Kashinath Ahire 

19 Sep 65 

23. 

4141085 

LNk Balaram Chavan 

19 Sep 65 

24. 

2748889 

Sep Tukaram Gaikwad 

19 Sep 65 

25. 

2749271 

Sep Chander Narwade 

19 Sep 65 

26. 

2749305 

Sep Dadu Sawant 

19 Sep 65 

27. 

2750274 

Sep Shankar Patil 

19 Sep 65 

28. 

2750563 

Sep Dnyanoba Wanjale 

19 Sep 65 

29. 

2752986 

Sep Ashok Dingale 

19 Sep 65 

30. 

4143980 

Sep Sadashiv Gawade 

19 Sep 65 

31. 

4144618 

Sep Anaji More 

19 Sep 65 

32. 

4145029 

Sep Balkrishna Pharande 

19 Sep 65 

33. 

JC 26577 

Nb Sub Narainrao 

19 Sep 65 

34. 

JC 8278W 

Sub Madhukar Rao 

19 Sep 65 

35. 

2740738 

Sep Parresh Kadu 

21 Sep 65 

36. 

2750591 

Sep Maruti Bhumakar 

21 Sep 65 

37. 

2731018 

Hav Tukaram Mahadik 

21 Sep 65 

38. 

2749846 

Sep Tukaram Karde 

22 Sep 65 

39. 

2749899 

Sep Anandrao Shinde 

22 Sep 65 

40. 

2751625 

Sep Shripati Kalgunde 

22 Sep 65 

41. 

4146205 

Sep Waman Kanse 

22 Sep 65 

42. 

2741738 

Nk Ramchandra Patil 

22 Sep 65 

5 JAK RIFLES 



1 . 


2Lt LS Chauhan 


2. 

1C 12508 

Maj DB Subba 


3. 

1C 11702 

Maj Puran Chander 


4. 


2Lt MK Dua 


5. 

13712395 

Hav Munshi Ram 

08 Sep 65 

6. 

13712664 

Nk Melaram 

19 Sep 65 

7. 

13712737 

Hav Shamsher Singh 

20 Sep 65 



58 


8. 13713847 Hav Balbir Singh 08 Sep 65 

9. 13716510 Hav Nepal Singh 19 Sep 65 

10. 13716606 Rfn Krishna Datt 23 Nov 65 

11. 13517070 Hav Lai Chand 23 Nov 65 


12. 13717603 Rfn Sad hu Ram 

13. 13719161 Nk Balwant Singh 

14. 13719350 Rfn Janem Singh 

15. 13719530 Nk Vishwa Mitter 

16. 13719551 Nk Jagdev Singh 

17. 13719782 Rfn Pathi Ram 

18. 13719816 Rfn Behari Lai 

19. 13720119 Rfn Behari Lai 

20. 13720134 Rfn Balbir Singh 

21. 13720163 Nk Jagan Nath Dogra 

22. 13720289 Nk Bishamber Singh 

23. 13721066 Rfn Rikhi Ram 

24. 13721211 Rfn Chaman Lai 

25. 13721248 Rfn Amar Singh 

26. 13721301 Rfn Shanak Ram 

27. 13722667 Rfn Amrit Lai 

28. 13723075 LNk Amar Nath Vimal 

29. JC 13626 Sub Krishna Singh 

30. JC 32951 Nb Sub Krishan Chand 

31. JC 33954 Sub Bal Krishan 


20 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 
14 Sep 65 
14 Sep 65 

22 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 

23 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 

08 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 

19 Sep 65 
22 Sep 65 

20 Sep 65 

09 Sep 65 
19 Sep 65 

10 Sep 65 
22 Sep 65 
08 Sep 65 



59 


Appendix “B” 


35 INFANTRY BRIGADE OPERATIONS 
IN SIALKOT SECTOR 


8-23 SEPTMBER 1965 




JtHlH 




c K 


(Ai $*<•***» * 

’•*' "• I 

■ s^'SE*' ’* o» pro 

SIALKOT I* 




CO'b«An y* 


"Ty 

»».4«rt J ‘ 


•LC--i 4 is i. = Lr'*V 

..^kW* 


: • /rw 

. £ ■*'/»* 


rj 

4»Jl 


ke *> ^ '* ’ 

: 

>/*<• *4* 


* .1 C ‘~* 


OB pto / '\»* 1 

^, U ^M S' \k •' • ■ iw 

. lj * t wv •« ** ,W r 




lh«OW Irffi- •• . 


pro ^|- 

\ t 


'I'. i*«« Vifn^h, " 


V 




lfM*M 


»*»H 


PO 


• 0**1" "»»•«* 
CAAo* I* 




omk« 

rc 


i \^A 

■•Vi V 

»v ■ 


«« Vii»V‘/a 
W/ - *>. 


8441' *»' 

>•0 C»*N 


.t«nrf MAHARAJKE 

8 -11 Sep 65 

■■■■■■■Hi 

SABZ PEER 


5 — CHARWA ** 

" , r-'X 

* , *~ 

8»-ji 4 «' iJ 

«- -^1 «•« 


12 Sep 65 -17 Feb 66 



35 jfi 


UKm ***** n 


■ M 

( 1 MI Nt 


ro f %## 



MANGA I 8 Se P 65 S'* 7 

O •«•• 



ww» 


ux* 




CHOBARA 


»*■/• ti» r« 


iwa... ■■■' •rc.a.lAw-T f--^/ 

B PHILLOBA »/. J- X / 

— V — ^ ' JKOTC, 


I** 1 ' 

18 Sep 65 

i 

^•Miy 

re 


JASSORAN 

V" •'> 

Ni 18/19 Sep 65 


fiof'i-*!'' Ou*/ 

I CHAWINDA 



// •*•>> vrw*- ^ r 

» v -V J :- i" w ' 'vT ’ w '”* """ . p» 77 «hp-l .> n s£z&zr._ __ y 



60 


Appendix “C” 


PAK DISPOSITIONS ON 16 SEPTEMBER 1965 



CUfttr 






tflMOINt' 


aV;r?j liuray* 




isivirids 




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61 


Appendix “D” 

OPPOSING FORCES AT CHAWINDA ON 18 /19 SEPTEMBER 1965 


Own Troops 

Enemy Troops 

35 Infantry Brigade under command 6 
Mountain Division 

24 Brigade Group under command 8 
Division 

6 MARATHA LI 
5 JAK RIF 

58 Infantry Brigade 

4 JAK RIF 
14 Rajput 

3 FF 

14 Balluch 
2 Punjab 

B Company 13 FF 

25 Cav (dug-in as pill boxes) 

3/1 GR 

From Other Formations 


19 FF ex 10 Brigade 

Artillery in Direct Support of 35 and 

Artillary in Direct Support to 24 Brigade 

58 Infantry Brigades 

No firm orders 166 Field Regiment in 
Direct support of 35 Brigade presumed 

• 

I (SP) Field Regiment less battery 
31 Field Regiment 
Battery 8 Medium Regiment 

Artillery In Support 

Artillery In Support 

1 Corps Artillery Brigade of one Medium 

and two Field Regiments 

Two Mountain Composite Regiments 

3 Heavy Regiment and 8 Medium 
Regiment of 4 Corps Artillery Brigade 
15 (SP) and 16 (SP) Field Regiments 

Engineer Support 

Engineer Support 

No support to assaulting brigades 

8 Engineer Battalion 

Air Support 

Air Support 

No formal request, but enemy 
acknowledged IAF ground attacks 

ACT with Tentacle 


62 


Appendix “E” 


ATTACK ON CHAWINDA: PHASE 1 
NIGHT 18/19 SEPETEMBER 1965 




x> «4i iiru 


63 


Appendix “F” 



'Oograna / 


Chawinda 


Ramke 


Ariel Dog ran + 


Charwind 


PAKISTANI ARMOUR, ARTILLARY AND MECHANISED INFANTRY 
FACING 6 MARATHA LIGHT INFANTRY AT CHAWINDA AND 20 RAPUT 
AT JASSORAN ON 19 SEPTEMBER 1965 

/ Khanan#all „* # ^ 

1 1 V jr 

Ko< teza* 


I FF 


r St 


S FF 


64 


APPENDIX “G” 



65 


APPENDIX “H” 



7 Inf Div 


15 Inf Div 




6 Armd Div 


66 


NOTES 

I . According to the Anny Commander Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, we arrived at Pathankot 
on 5 th September 1965 and were placed under command 6 Mountain Division at Nokia, 
See Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, War Despatches, Indo-Pak Conflict 1965 (Lancer 
International, New Delhi, 1991) p. 135. 

2 The correct fonnat is detached from (name of formation) at (place) at — hours on 
(date); and placed under command (name of formation) at (place) at — hours on (date). 
Non compliance of this axiom of staff duties, led to fiasco after fiascos. There were 
innumerable occasions of grouping and regrouping, — frequent as they were, going awry 
and leading to absence of inter and intra communications, even dual and dubious control 
on location and mission of infantry brigade formations, units and direct support artillery. 

3. BC Chakravorty, History of War 1965 (History Division, Government of India) 
<http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/Army/History/ 1 965 War/PDF/ 1 965 
Chapter09.pdf> p 253. 

4. Agha Humayun Amin, Washington, “A Battle of Lost Opportunities,” 
<http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/sept/grand-slam.htm> Also see Lt Gen Harbaksh 
Singh, n.l, pp. 74-79. The latter has omitted Khilji Force. 

5. SG Medic, of Pakistan “1965 War Operation Gibraltar: Role of SSG Para 
Commandos, ” <http://www.defencejournal.com/july98/1965war.htm> 

6. The Men of Steel: War Despatches of Abrar Hussain. (Army Publishing House, 
Rawalpindi, 2005) Para 34, p. 10. On 5 September Pakistan had shot a despatch Rider 
(DR) of 17 Horse and captured a set of documents which indicated presence of Our I 
Armoured Division in general Area Samba, but considered it as “ possibility of deliberate 
planting,” not to be ruled out. 

7. See BC Chakravorty, n. 3, p. 196. 

8. See Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n.l, Para 67, p. 144. 

9. The Men of Steel, n. 6, Para 62, p-17 According to the enemy, Pak 25 Cavalry had 
attacked on a wide front with three squadrons abreast. This confused us about the nature 
and strength of counter attack. 

10. Ibid. See Preface on Page xvii by Khalid Mohammad Arif. 

II. Ibid. Para 61, p. 17. 

12. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n. 1, Para 55, p. 141 and Para 67, p. 144. 

13. Ibid. Para 72, p.144 



67 


14. Ibid. Para 76, p.145 

15. BC Chakravorti, n. 3, p. 20516. Later, it was recognised as that of Pak 22 Cavalry, 
which perhaps belonged to their 7 Division deployed at Chhamb and came under 
command 6 Armoured Division before the battle in Sialkot sector. 

16. See photograph at Appendix “H” and analysis in Para “Intelligence” in Chapter 8. 

17. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n. 1, p. 148, and BC Chakravorti, n. 3, p. 209. 

18. See Maj Gen Lachhman Singh Lehal, Missed Opportunities: Indo-Pak War 1965, 
(Natraj Publishers Dehradoon) pp. 312-313. 

19. Men of Steel, n.6, Annexure 9 and 10. 

20. B C Chakravarti n.3, p. 214. 

21. Ibid, p 213 and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n.l, Para 104, p. 152. 

22. See Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n.l, Para 106, p.153. 

23. See I Armoured Brigade Operation Order No 3 reproduced as captured document in 
The Men of Steel n. 6, Annexure 9, p. 95. 

24. Ibid, Para 135, p. 37. Also see map at Annexure 1 1 ibid. 

25. Ibid, Para 135, pp, 37-38. 

26. Ibid. 

27. Ibid. 

28. Ibid, Para 131, p. 36. 

29. Ibid30, See BC Chakravorty, n. 3, p. 217. 

31. Ibid. 

32. The Men of Steel, n. 6. Para 13 1, p. 36. 

33. BC Chakravorty, n. 3, p.216. 


34. Ibid. 



68 


35. Ibid. Mark the word misunderstanding — .a highly disparate and unbecoming 
expression of military situation. 

36. Ibid. pp. 216-217, 

37. The Men of Steel, n. 6, Para 183 p. 53. 

38. That is what happened at Chobara on 8 September 1965, a battle which our history 
writers have uncharitably and ignobly ignored. 

39. The Men of steel, n.6, Para 184, p. 53. 

40. Ibid, Para 185, p. 52. 

41. Ibid, Para 186, p. 52. 

42. Ibid, Para 187. p.52. 

43. See Maj Gen Lachhman Singh Lehal, n. 18, p.343. 

44 Men of Steel , n. 6. Para 193, p. 53. 

45. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n. 1, Pare 124, pp. 157-158. 

46. Ibid, Para 127, p. 159. 

47. Ibid, Para 128, p. 159. 

48. Ibid, Para 137, p. 160. 

49. Ibid. Lessons Leamt, Para 14, p. 1 95. 

50 Ibid. Para 15, p. 1 95. 

51. Ibid. Para 16, pp. 195-196. 

52. Sun Tzu, The Art of War. r 

53. Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, Unrestricted Warfare, (Beijing: PLA Literature and 
Arts Publishing House, February 1999) Reproduced Website as given below: 
<http://www.cryptome.org/cuw.htm>. 

54. See quotes of Gen George S Patton on the Web. 

55. There is a Chapter called “Battle Winner: Tactical Signal Intelligence” in Sky is the 
Limit: Signals in Operation Pawan, which are the upshot of experiences in Op Nepal 
amongst many other operations in India and abroad. The views expressed herein are 



69 


extracted from that Chapter. See Yashwant Deva, Sky is the Limit: Signals in Operation 
Pawan (New Delhi, Operation Pawan Veterans, 2007} pp. 184- 186. 

56. Ibid. 

57. Ibid. 

58. Air Chief Marshal P C Lai, at the USI, Some Problems of Defence, USI National 
Security Lecture 1977, pp. 74-75. 

59. BC Chakravorty, n. 3, p. 332. 

60. Ibid, p.24 quoting Leo Heiman, Military Review, Feb 1966. 

61. Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, n. 6, Para 24, p. 190. 

62. Ibid, Para 25, p. 190. 

63. Ibid. Appendix “A” p. 164. 



Profile of the Author 



P* *5 



A scholar, writer and defence analyst of repute, Maj. Gen. Yashwant Deva, AVSM 
(Retd) is psc and tide from Defence Services Staff College and 
National Defence College, and MS and MPhil from Faculty of Science 
Madras University, He was a senior scholar with the Institute for 
Defence Studies and Analyses (IDS A) from 1989 to 1993. Currently, 
he is a Fellow and a member of the Governing Council of Institute of 
Communication Engineers and Information Technologists (ICEIT). He 
was President of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication 
Engineers (IETE) for the years 2000-2002 and has been honoured with 
Distinguished Fellowship of the Institution. During his service career, 
he held various appointments in India and abroad. The latter included on the staff of 
International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC) in Vietnam, Military 
Attache in Afghanistan and Chief Signal Officer of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) 
in Sri Lanka. He is a veteran of 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, Operation Savage in 
Sikkim, Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka and internal hostilities and armed conflicts in 
J&K, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for engineering 
a wide-ranging and integrated network of highly responsive communications over diverse 
media during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka spanning the mainland to the island and the 
operational areas of IPKF; providing tactical signal intelligence and electronic warfare 
support to the force; and for restoring war-ravaged telecommunication services in Jaffna 
Peninsular, as part of the civic action. 


He regularly writes in the periodicals, service journals, and on the Web on 
technology and security related issues of topical interest. He is widely quoted in India and 
abroad as an authority on various facets of electro-technology, e-intelligence, cyber- 
security and infowar. His written works include, Sky is the Limit: Signals in Operation 
Pawan (2007), Secure or Perish (2001) based on a project titled Emerging Global and 
National Information Infrastructures and their Security Implications: An Analysis 
conducted under the USI of India at Prof D S Kothari DRDO Chair, Dual Use 
Information Technology: An Indocentric Perspective (1997) published by the, IDS A an 
edited compilation Multimedia' 98: Shaping the Future (1998), e-monographs, Internet: 
Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects (2002), ICT (Information Communication 
Technology) for All: Empowering People to Cross the Digital Divide (2003), and Special 
Issue of Technical Review on Information Security (2002), published by the IETE. His 
works have been placed in the national libraries of the various countries including those 
of the US Congress and parliaments of Commonwealth.